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Old 04-15-2010, 06:36 PM   #1
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Default President Obama Tells Federal Agency To Estabish Rule Barring Hospitals From Denying Visitation to Gay, Lesbian Partners

This just hit on CNN Breaking News....no details yet.





I expect followup headlines soon about conservative homophobe heads exploding, Catholic churches shutting down their hundreds of hospitals in protest, etc. This is going to be quite entertaining.

PS - Obama, dude, don't forget Trans folks!!!
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Old 04-15-2010, 06:45 PM   #2
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very good hopefully this wakes up the rest of the country since everyone knows that if you barr a loved one from seeing thier partner you couldnt be more cruel and evil....
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:02 PM   #3
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I see this as a good sign as to where the man stands in regards to our rights. Let's hope I'm not counting my proverbial chickens before they get to the supreme court.
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:07 PM   #4
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Some details:

Obama extends hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners of gays


By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 16, 2010

President Obama mandated Thursday that hospitals extend visitation rights to the partners of gay men and lesbians and allow same-sex couples to share medical power of attorney, perhaps the most significant step so far in his efforts to expand the rights of gay Americans.

The president directed the Department of Health and Human Services to prohibit discrimination in hospital visitation in a memo that was e-mailed to reporters Thursday night while he was at a fundraiser in Miami.

Administration officials and gay activists, who have been quietly working together on the issue, said the new rule will affect any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding, a move that covers the vast majority of the nation's health-care institutions.

It is currently common policy in many hospitals that only those related by blood or marriage be allowed to visit patients.

"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," Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in praising the decision.

Obama's actions are the latest attempt by his administration to advance the agenda of a constituency that strongly supported his presidential campaign.

In his first 15 months in office, he has hailed the passage of hate crime legislation and held the first Gay Pride Day celebration at the White House. Last month, Obama's top military and defense officials testified before Congress in favor of repealing of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays in the armed forces.
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But the moves have been too slow for some seeking equal rights for gays, who have urged the president to be more vocal and active in championing their causes. John Aravosis, a prominent gay blogger, wrote last October that Obama's "track record on keeping his gay promises has been fairly abominable."

Other gay rights activists have defended the administration for doing what it can, while at the same time pushing Congress to act on broader issues such as passage of an employment non-discrimination act and an end to the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

"We see this as part of our ongoing effort to encourage the administration to take action where it has the authority to act," said David Smith, a Human Rights Campaign spokesman. "We've been working and pressing the administration on our legislative agenda. That work continues."

Gay activists have argued for years that recognizing same-sex marriage would ease the stress associated with not being able to visit their hospitalized partners.

But opponents of same-sex marriage have called the visitation issue a red herring, arguing that advocates want to provide special rights for gays that other Americans do not have.

Obama's memo to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, made public late Thursday night, orders new rules that would ensure that hospitals "respect the rights of patients to designate visitors."

Obama said hospitals should not be able to deny visitation privileges on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

"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," Obama wrote in the memo.

Affected, he said, 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."

The new rules do not apply only to gays. They also affect widows and widowers who have found themselves unable to receive visits from a friend or companion. And it would allow members of some religious orders to designate someone other than a family member to make medical decisions.

But it is clear that the document is aimed squarely at gays. A number of areas remain in which federal law requires proof of marriage, including receiving Social Security benefits and in taxes.

"The General Accounting Office has identified 1,138 instances in federal law where marriage is important," said one gay rights activist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House had not formally announced the directive. "We've knocked off one of them."
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:50 PM   #5
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This is so wonderful!!!!
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:18 PM   #6
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I wonder if they'll cave to the damn churches and allow an exception for faith-based hospitals that's surely going to be demanded. That'll screw over tons of folks. I don't know about the rest of the county but here in California the catholics own a bucket load of hospitals, many in rural areas where there's no alternative.
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:23 PM   #7
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This is wonderful news! Not long ago we were discussing the need to get all the ironclad legal wrangling done to ensure that we are both protected within our relationship. We will still likely complete a medical power of attorney, but at least there won't be all the hassle at the hospital should one of us find ourselves there. Progress is progress, no matter how small!

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Old 04-15-2010, 10:37 PM   #8
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You know there are still some nice people in this world ive never been denied to see my partner when they were sick or ill i was always helped right to them be cause they are afraid of this red head laffsi think they would hate to hear me make a scene
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Old 04-16-2010, 03:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsDemeanor View Post
I wonder if they'll cave to the damn churches and allow an exception for faith-based hospitals that's surely going to be demanded. That'll screw over tons of folks. I don't know about the rest of the county but here in California the catholics own a bucket load of hospitals, many in rural areas where there's no alternative.
Oh, I bet this comes up immediately!! Without a doubt! Wonder what Huckabee will be spouting??!! My first guess as someone that will be all over this Friday!! We might want to marryy horses, you know... and view children as puppies...

I'm glad to see this happen, but, I'm reeling about the likes of Larry King getting his 8th divorce as a straight man (appears he's been bonking his sister-in-law). Now, how is it that same-sex marriage negatively affects the sanctity of heterosexual marriage?

Also, it is taking a presidential order (or is it a directive) to secure human kindness in the face of illness. Guess I do feel like this is somewhat of a political bone being thrown our way. Yet, it does feel good when thinking about those of us that are in this situation at this very moment.

Maybe just grouchy today….
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Old 04-16-2010, 06:12 AM   #10
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politcal directive or not if my wife was in the hospital and i was not allowed to see here it would take a helluva lot of stopping power to keep me away.....i would go apechit on whoever was stopping me and probably end up in the hospital myself.....that is one situation where i would act before i thought and consequences be damned..then i would proceed to every media outlet or whoever would listen and whatever lawyer would i could talk to.....simply i would be seeing red
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Old 04-16-2010, 07:09 AM   #11
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Our friends Jan and Lisa were profoundly affected, Lisa was stricken with a fatal brain aneurysm. Even though she had power of attorney, for 8 hours hospital staff refused to allow Janice and her children in to see her dying partner of over 20 years — with one employee informing her that she was in an antigay city and antigay state.
Finally, when they were taking Lisa off life support, and donating her organs, Lisa's sister got a priest to get them to allow Jan and the kids to say goodbye, then they had to leave. Obama called Jan yesterday and told her that what happened to her was "outrageous" and thanked her for her courage.
As we celebrate this, send a prayer to Jan and their kids. They struggle every day to get past what they were put through.
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Old 04-16-2010, 07:12 AM   #12
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My thoughts and prayers will definitely be for all the "Jans" and kids affected by not having this in place.

But I gotta wonder what's wrong with society that we have to enforce a rule to allow human kindness, compassion and understanding?
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Old 04-16-2010, 07:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsDemeanor View Post
I wonder if they'll cave to the damn churches and allow an exception for faith-based hospitals that's surely going to be demanded. That'll screw over tons of folks. I don't know about the rest of the county but here in California the catholics own a bucket load of hospitals, many in rural areas where there's no alternative.
Based on the intial story it doesn't sound like it. The only way the Catholic hospitals could get around it is to refuse medicare and Medicaid. Most hospitals can't do this because they need the money.

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Old 04-16-2010, 07:51 AM   #14
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Oh, I bet this comes up immediately!! Without a doubt! Wonder what Huckabee will be spouting??!! My first guess as someone that will be all over this Friday!! We might want to marryy horses, you know... and view children as puppies...

I'm glad to see this happen, but, I'm reeling about the likes of Larry King getting his 8th divorce as a straight man (appears he's been bonking his sister-in-law). Now, how is it that same-sex marriage negatively affects the sanctity of heterosexual marriage?

Also, it is taking a presidential order (or is it a directive) to secure human kindness in the face of illness. Guess I do feel like this is somewhat of a political bone being thrown our way. Yet, it does feel good when thinking about those of us that are in this situation at this very moment.

Maybe just grouchy today….

Whatever the motivations it makes a huge difference. I'm just going to take this on face value. Me and Melissa have all the paperwork, wills, directives, you name it but it often doesn't make a darn difference. Now we both feel a lot more secure. Its one less thing to worry about.

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Old 04-16-2010, 07:57 AM   #15
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AP – By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writer Charles Babington, Associated Press Writer – Fri Apr 16, 6:42 am ET
WASHINGTON – In a move hailed as a step toward fairness for same-sex couples, President Barack Obama is ordering that nearly all hospitals allow patients to say who has visitation rights and who can help make medical decisions, including gay and lesbian partners.

The White House on Thursday released a statement by Obama instructing his Health and Human Services secretary to draft rules requiring hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid payments to grant all patients the right to designate people who can visit and consult with them at crucial moments.
The designated visitors should have the same rights that immediate family members now enjoy, Obama's instructions said. It said Medicare-Medicaid hospitals, which include most of the nation's facilities, may not deny visitation and consultation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

The move was called a major step toward fairness for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

"This is a critical step in ending discrimination against LGBT families and ensuring that, in the event of a hospital stay, all Americans have the right to see their loved ones," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The new rules, Obama said, should "guarantee that all patients' advance directives, such as durable powers of attorney and health care proxies, are respected," and that patients' designees be able to "make informed decisions regarding patients' care."

Some gay advocacy groups say Obama has moved too slowly to fulfill campaign promises to expand their civil rights. The nation's top military leaders recently said it is time to end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that has kept gays from serving openly in the armed services.

The Human Rights Campaign, which backs gay rights, called Obama's decision an "important action" that was inspired in part by a New York Times article about a lesbian couple in Miami. They were kept apart while one lay dying in a hospital despite having an "advanced health care directive" asking for full visitation rights for each other.

"Discrimination touches every facet of the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including at times of crisis and illness," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "The president's action today will help ensure that the indignities" suffered by the Miami patient and her children will not happen to others.

In his statement, Obama said: "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. Often, a widow or widower with no children is denied the support and comfort of a good friend."

He added: "Also uniquely 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."

Without the expanded visitor-designation rights, Obama said, "all too often, people are made to suffer or even to pass away alone, denied the comfort of companionship in their final moments while a loved one is left worrying and pacing down the hall."
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Old 04-16-2010, 08:05 AM   #16
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Even private Hospitals receive payments from Medi-cal/Medicare. In some of the poorest areas of Southern California there are primarily older people, and people who for one reason or another are on Medi-cal, and there are several Catholic Hospitals.

California is a bit different (in my experience), as no one I know has ever been barred from a room or decisions for their partner, even in a Catholic Hospital. When I was unable to make decisions for myself, they were quite happy to let Kasey make them for me.

I imagine this will be a huge fight, and I hope Obama is able to enforce the policy. Only time will tell.
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Old 04-16-2010, 08:34 AM   #17
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My heart goes out to Jan and kids. Tragedy, sadness, loneliness and despair taught me that life is really a beautiful thing; if it wasn't I wouldn't be able to recognize that anything was wrong.
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:13 AM   #18
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I am thrilled to hear this news. However, I would much rather see some laws on the books. In the meantime, I will have legal documents in my hands.


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Old 04-16-2010, 09:29 AM   #19
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Funny, I was in the hospital yesterday for a family member. I was asked 3 times whether I was a friend or family. Before they let me in the room, before they gave me info on his status.

While I was waiting, I asked the nurses how they handle same-sex partners, and they said they treat them however the patient asks for them to be treated. That may work in nonemergency situations -but if that were really the case, I don't know why they kept asking if I was a family member. Anyway, I was glad when my gf emailed me this announcement of obama's. I hope it becomes law.

As for Jan and her children - what an unimaginably terrible experience.
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:54 AM   #20
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TOWANDA!
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Queen Bee
Relationship Status:
Good 'n married.
 
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Eastern Canada. But if I make a wrong turn at the lights I get stopped by a border guard.
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When I was in the hospital two years ago for major surgery I had medical power of attorney papers drawn up and made sure they were on my chart. There was never any question of WHO these people were: as long as they were named in the document they were given every courtesy. Visitors in ICU, on the other hand, had to be relatives or the aforementioned POA. Of course in Canada our rights have been established on a national level by a Supreme Court. I think this will have to happen eventually in the U.S. for our civil rights to cease to be a matter that can be put to popular vote. I hope that the makeup of the court will enable this to happen sooner rather than later. As my partner is an , the matter has a tremendous affect on our future.
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"Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind." -Albert Schweitzer
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