President Obama took a step toward equal rights on Thursday when he mandated that hospitals allow visitation to the partners of gay men and women, along with respecting patients' choices about who can make critical health-care decisions for them.
The new rules will affect any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding and will become active within months.
"Discrimination touches every facet of the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including at times of crisis and illness, when we need our loved ones with us more than ever," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
And per usual, opponents of gay marriage are all up in arms about the whole thing! Their warped thinking truly believes that this decision is undermining the definition of marriage.
But Obama issued the following elegant memo to the Department of Health and Human Services.
"Every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindnesses and caring of a loved one at their sides whether in a sudden medical emergency or a prolonged hospital stay.
Affected are "gay and lesbian Americans who are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives — unable to be there for the person they love, and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated."
President Obama was inspired by the story of a lesbian couple in Florida, Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond, who were not allowed to see each other when Pond collapsed of a cerebral aneurysm in February 2007 and died alone in the hospital hours later because of these outdated policies.
And the new mandate will not only apply to gays. Widows and widowers will now be able to receive visits from friends and companions.
[Image via WENN.]