Obama Awards Presidential Citizens Medal To Lesbian Denied Access To Dying Partner

Janice Langbehn, who was denied hospital access to her dying partner, is one of the recipients of 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal, The White House has announced.

Langbehn and her partner, Lisa Pond, were on vacation in 2007 when Pond suddenly became ill and was rushed to the hospital. Because they were unmarried, Langbehn was not allowed to see Pond, who soon died from a brain aneurysm. Langbehn became an LGBT activist and her efforts garnered the attention of President Obama, who personally apologized to her and ultimately revised hospital visitation rights for hospitals receiving federal Medicare or Medicaid funds (essentially all hospitals).

Established in 1969, the Citizens Medal recognizes Americans who have performed noteworthy acts of public service.  “This year’s recipients of the Citizens Medal come from different backgrounds, but they share a commitment to a cause greater than themselves,” said the President.  “They exemplify the best of what it means to be an American, and I am honored to be able to offer them a small token of our appreciation.”


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  • fredo777


  • the crustybastard

    President Obama is still prosecuting Dan Choi though, right?

  • Michael

    Lovely gesture but I hope I am not the only that thinks too little too late here.Obama should have done something about that discrimination a LONG time ago.Breaks my heart that she could not even be with her love in the end because they were not married.

  • Michael

    Shit.Let me change that I thought that read November 2008.Therefore since it was 2007 Bushs dumbass was still in office so sadly it does not surprise me one bit that he did nothing about this.He’s always been as anti gay anti intelligent as it gets. My apologies to Obama for that egregious error in judgement.

  • Dave

    “Small token” is the operative phrase here. Each and every LGBT person who’s ever been refused access to their partner, spouse, or child in a time of medical crisis deserves a hell of a lot more than a medal. Nothing could ever return what was (and is) being taken from these folks, but a few hundred million dollars a piece would be a good place to start.

  • Reason

    @Michael: Even if it read 2008 he still wasn’t in office, he didn’t arrive untill 1/20/09. Alot of progress has been made that to many overlook, this is clearly someone that cares.

  • Reason

    @the crustybastard: Get off it, Choi is getting what he deserves. I won’t forget when he suddenly showed up on stage startling Harry Reid, who was problem concerned about his safety when someone suddenly steals there way on stage. Then he sat there and disrespected Harry who should have upercutted him off the platform. He proceeded to assault Pelosi and several other dems that were fighting to get DADT repealed. All of them showed him great humility in an attempt not to start a fight with Choi, and give the GOP ammunition to halt repeal in its tracks. Choi needs to realize that pay back is a you know what, you harass and disrespect gov officials that are actually working to help your cause, don’t be surprised when DOJ comes after you. I don’t see any of the other activist in court, so this has nothing to do with the administration trying to silence activist.

  • the crustybastard


    Choi’s right to political speech is guaranteed by the Constitution. Exercise of that right in no way requires the citizen to bow, scrape or kowtow to public officials.

    However, I agree that Choi’s current prosecution is unique and is a matter of “payback.”

    Indeed, so would Choi.

    That argument is precisely Choi’s current legal defense — because it’s illegal for the government to selectively prosecute for the purpose of making an example of someone.

    Congratulations on inadvertently arriving at the proper conclusion.

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