Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Home Sweet Home?

Mentally Disabled NY Newlyweds Find Home
Frank Eltman, Associated Press - July 2, 2013

Until the couple's ADA lawsuit is resolved, this sounds like a happy ending for Paul and Hava Forziano. I'm glad they are continuing the lawsuit, because there are fundamental rights here to defend, real questions about the role of service providers, families, and the state in the lives of cognitively impaired adults, and possibly an important examination of the meaning of consent, and who can legally give it.

Personally, my bias is for a very, very broad view of consent here. To me, a person would have to be seriously, severely cognitively impaired for consent to sex and marriage should be questioned. Maybe with in-between situations of moderate impairment, there should be an obligation on the part of service providers to facilitate as much sex education and marriage guidance as needed for each person. It sounds like the agency involved here just wanted to ignore the issue altogether, which is probably the root of the problem.

I also still wonder whether another group home is the answer. How about an apartment they could rent, with hired help as needed? Still, this seems to be what the Forziano's were after, so good for them ... and welcome home.