Orientation or Preference?

A major belief of those who hate or fear lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and trans-gendered people is that sexual identity is a choice, or at least is subject to psychological influence. They are convinced that what they consider “deviant” sexual identity may be corrected through determination, prayer, therapy, a healing touch or some other instrumentality. The corollary to this principle is that the LGBT community is bent on turning “straight” people gay. The idea that sexual identity is malleable is absurd. Gay people are neither susceptible to, nor capable of, conversion.

To reach this conclusion, I only had to look inward. I have always had a strong sense of my sexual identity. There is no way that I could be persuaded, threatened, cajoled, browbeaten, or bribed into changing my sexual identity. Sexual identity is a matter of orientation, not preference. A person is AC, DC, or AC/DC because that is how the person’s brain is hard-wired. Although I never doubted that I was right about this, recent news reports have provided proof.

Chris Birch, a beer-swilling Welsh rugby player suffered a stroke. When he woke up, he found that his sexual orientation had changed from hetero- to homo-sexual. “The Telegraph,” April 17, 2012. Rugby Player Happier Gay. If a physical change in the brain can cause a change in sexual orientation, whether one is gay or straight is clearly not a matter of choice or external influence.

This case proves, “You are what you are and you ain’t what you ain’t.” A person’s sexual orientation is subject to change, but only by an accidental physical change in the brain. Religious zealots can stop trying to convert gays and homophobes can stop worrying that gays will convert them.

 

John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
law-business.com
 
©2012 John B. Payne, Attorney
 
 

Fiduciary Fiasco

Just as a plan of battle never survives first contact with the enemy, estate plans often fall apart in the crucible of the probate process.  Sometimes these meltdowns can be avoided by properly drafting legal documents, but there are times when it is not the plan, but the people, causing matters to go from bad to catastrophic.  A few years ago a client came to me because he was being sued for attorney fees amounting to six figures.

My client had seen me several years earlier when he and his siblings were butting heads over who would be in charge of the mother’s affairs.  He did not hire me then, but he was back because the matter had become a nasty affair in probate court.

My client’s mother was a widow with four children.  Two wanted the mother in a western state in an assisted-living facility.  The others wanted her in a nursing home in Michigan.  She had gone west for a visit and her son had settled her in an ALF and opened guardianship.  Two of the three Michigan siblings, a daughter and another son, went to the western state to contest the guardianship and bring her back to Michigan.  They were successful in moving the mother and her legal matter back to Michigan.

Since the siblings were at loggerheads, the Michigan judge appointed an attorney to act as guardian and conservator (a conservator is in charge of the person’s financial estate).  The siblings then started trying to get the attorney dislodged as fiduciary.  They blew over $300,000 on court costs and attorney’s fees.  The conservator and the court wanted my client to pay a large part of that.  He disagreed and hired me to contest the sanctions against him.  It was a sad situation for all of the family.  By the time the mother died, after years of legal wrangling, her estate had declined from around $850,000 to less than $400,000.

If the mother had foreseen the sibling conflict, she might have used a living trust and power of attorney to establish who would be in charge of her person and estate.  Although this may have discouraged other sons and her daughter from going to court to establish guardianship and conservatorship, some family conflicts cannot be resolved except by a judge.

 

John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
law-business.com
 
©2012 John B. Payne, Attorney
 
 

Ryan Plan to Include “Life Panels”

House Republicans passed congressman Paul Ryan’s deficit-cutting budget plan on Thursday, March 29, 2012, potentially a crucial plank in their election-year campaign platform and a foil for Democratic attacks over the plan’s savings in health care. One little-noticed cost-saving provision establishes an additional hurdle for applicants for Medical Assistance, also known as Medicaid. Under the new requirement, adults must demonstrate a reason to live in order to qualify for Medicaid. Analysts estimate that this could eliminate up to 50% of current and potential adult Medicaid recipients. Savings in federal general fund dollars could exceed $687 billion over 10 years.

Under the proposed policy, individuals must demonstrate a reason to live, by clear and convincing evidence, to be eligible for Medicaid. Acceptable reasons include: a) Objectively measurable artistic ability, b) Ability to engage in aesthetically-pleasing musical, dramatic, or dance performance, c) Significant mathematic, scientific, rhetoric, inventive, religious, or political capacity, or d) Being held in high regard or loved by a significant number of unrelated individuals.

To establish objectively measurable artistic ability, applicants must present critical reviews by three recognized art critics, unless paid by the individual or family members. The reviews do not have to be positive. In the art world negative reviews are considered to be more desirable and reliable than positive reviews.

Ability to engage in aesthetically-pleasing musical, dramatic, or dance performance may be verified by YouTube ratings or participation in juried competition. The individual need not win a competition, but must survive at least first-round elimination for the competition to qualify as clear and convincing evidence of a reason to live. Hip-hop is not considered music under the bill and waiving a sparkler on the Fourth of July is not considered a “dance,” unless the individual is able to wave a flag at the same time, without setting the flag on fire.

To support a finding of a reason to live by reason of mathematic, scientific, rhetoric, or inventive capacity, the individual must demonstrate that he or she is as smart as, but not necessarily smarter than, a fifth-grader. Religious capacity may be shown by a healing or other miracle within the previous 12 months. The individual is considered to have political capacity if supportive of the TEA Party. Liberal political inclinations are automatically disqualifying.

Being held in high regard or loved by a significant number of unrelated individuals may be shown by notarized testimonials of unrelated third parties. Testimonials of relatives are not considered, as relatives are conclusively presumed to be biased in favor of the individual. Paid caregivers, treatment providers, and employees of the institutions where the individual resides are disqualified from attesting to the individual being held in high regard or loved.

The bill would establish a “Life Panel” in each of the 57 states. These life panels would determine whether indigent adults have sufficient reason to live to be granted medical care. According to House Speaker John Boehner, the “life panels” are “totally opposite” to the “death panels” established by Obabamacare. The Speaker stated, “It’s as different as putting your pants on one leg at a time is from putting your legs in your pants one leg at a time. It’s as different as putting your hat on your head is from putting your head in your hat. They are as different as a Xerox machine and a copier.”

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi responded, “Life panels and death panels are the same thing. The Republicans are imitating us. We call on the President to make them stop imitating us. If they won’t stop imitating us, we will start imitating them. We’ll see how they like it!”

 

John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
law-business.com
 
©2012 John B. Payne, Attorney