President Obama might not have yet eliminated DADT given all the posturing of the troglodytes in the Senate and on the right, but he did take much needed action in asking that the Department of Health & Human Services issue a ruling to stop hospitals from preventing gays and lesbians from visitation rights with their partners. All hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid patients are covered by this ruling.
Here’s what Obama had to say about the issue:
“There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital. … Yet every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindnesses and caring of a loved one at their sides.”
To help all readers understand the importance of this ruling, this heartbreaking story of a woman in Florida denied access to her dieing partner of 17 years following her admission to Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital is enough to confirm the need for this ruling. As the surviving partner said:
“To hold Lisa’s hand wasn’t a gay right, it was a human right.”
Conservative icon Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal stated that the benefit goes beyond gays and lesbians by allowing people to designate others beyond family members to have visitation and power of attorney rights. Here’s what they had to say:
“Under the order, hospitals will be required to respect advanced directives and other legal documents like powers of attorney that aim to allow people outside the immediate family to have visitation privileges. Those privileges may not be denied on the basis of sexual orientation, among other factors, the order said. It applies not only to same-sex partners but to others, such as widowers who want a friend by their sides in the hospital.
Hospitals also will be required to respect legal documents that designate same-sex partners as decision-makers for patients unable to make decisions for themselves.
It is common practice for hospitals to deny visitation to non-family members. Gay rights activists have cited these restrictions as cause for why they need the right to marry.”
The reactionaries on the right were still stumbling on their response to this ruling.