Obama Extends Hospital Visitation Rights To Same-Sex Partners

President Obama just e-mailed a memo to the Department of Health and Human Services extending hospital visitation rights to the same-sex partners and allowing them to share medical power of attorney. The same privileges would have helped Janice Langbehn and her three kids see her dying partner of 17 years Lisa Pond. Langbehn said, “I hope that taking these steps makes sure that no family ever has to experience the nightmare that my family has gone through.”

The new rules will apply to all hospitals receiving Medicaid or Medicare funds, which covers most of the hospitals across the US. Furthermore, it won’t only apply to gays but to widows and widowers who’ve been unable to see friends and companions and also to member of religious orders who need non-family members to make medical decisions in their behalf. Obama said that hospitals shouldn’t be able to deny visitation rights based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #politics #barackobama #gayrights stories and more


  • fredo777

    well, if this sticks, hoo-fuckin-rah. that’s great news.

  • dvlaries

    That’s a marvelous piece of news, really. Just that pinch of dignity in the 1980s -at the worst of AIDS- might have extended some lives.

    When my partner was hospitalized six weeks ago for a week in Virginia -one of the reddest of states- I wondered if I might taste some hassle or trouble when coming every day. But it was quite the contrary, and every member of the hospital was just as solicitous to me. I was even invited to sleep in a LazyBoy chair overnight next to him, if I chose.

  • Mike Barton

    Good news, indeed! This will contribute to identification of gay and lesbian people as a class of people (necessary in the fight against anti-discrimination laws, which will hopefully lead to the demise of DOMA) as well as granting a long overlooked human right – the right to choose who will be able to visit us when we are infirm as well as directing who has the right to call the shots in developing our treatment.

  • Michael @

    Y’all might not have heard yet that TV screens nationwide will be showing next Monday night his being met with a huge, angry protest by gays about DADT when he attends a fundraiser for Barbara Boxer in L.A., but obviously ObamaRahm has for another suspiciously timed gesture to The Gays has been rolled out. Supposedly, as noted, this one is because his heart went out to a lesbian who wasn’t allowed to see her hospitalized partner who then died.

    But that happened 2 YEARS before he was sworn in. WHAT TOOK HIM 15 MONTHS TO GET AROUND TO THIS when his transition team was presented with a list of needs that would have included this weeks before he was sworn in? Are they keeping these little boxes of cookies and crumbs to only open when they need to try to calm the fag natives?

    Note it only directs they “INITIATE rulemaking.” At the ice-glacier speed his Administration works, hospitalized LGBTs and their loved ones won’t benefit from this for months and months…just like implementing lifting the HIV travel ban took ages even tho it was WAITING ON HIS DESK when he was sworn in after Bush had already signed it, and those crumbs of benefits for the partners of gay federal employees STILL haven’t been implemented nearly a year after they announced them …..wait for it……in the wake of the boycott of the DNC LGBT fundraiser.

    Now as the curtain is being ripped off of the ObamaRahm/Gates conspiracy to kill repeal by running out the clock….and days before that huge protest he knows is waiting for him in L.A…..comes another serving of pie in the sky. At least this one’s in POTUS-writing unlike his promises re DADT, ENDA, and DOMA.

    Per se, I don’t have any problem with someone doing the right thing for the wrong reason. And another benefit is that it’s the 2nd time he’s shown us he knows how to use a pen with lavender ink.

    NOW, when he actually shows some courage to use that pen for something that Troglodytic Senators and Generals aren’t squealing about and entire organizations don’t exist to stop like using his legal powers to freeze discharges which he declared months ago weaken national security and which would NOT require months and months of delays like lifting the HIV travel ban, extending minor partner benefits, and simply opening hospital doors and doctors’ ears have and are, call me.

    Will his Presidential limousine drive by Dan Choi and all those other expected protesters and all the rainbow flags and then go inside and claim he doesn’t know why the protestors are there as he did in L.A. last year?


  • Fitz

    1) I am thankful for this. 2) I am NOT satisfied. I remember in the early 80’s sneaking (literally) into the hospital to visit someone, hiding in laundry rooms until the nurse left is room, etc.

  • fredo777

    How did I know that someone would make it a point to focus on the negative aspects or possible ulterior motives for this move? These are politicians, not philanthropists. Of course they make decisions that are politically beneficial to them. Is that somehow surprising?

  • Sam

    YAAAY! I’m not partnered myself, but this is so good for all the gays and lesbians who are. And I’m so glad to see Obama helping us out a little. I was beginning to lose all hope that he’d ever do anything for us.

  • InExile

    Very little and very late but better than nothing!

  • dk

    As I have said repeatedly attaining our rights will be a marathon, not a sprint. We need to keep the pressure on and maintain the momentum however slow. Don’t forget if the Dems lose their majorities in the House and Senate the GOP will block any further progress.

  • Cam

    One of the problems, if one president did it another can undo it. The one benefit would be, if I was the lawyer arguing in the Supreme Court case against DADT this would be just another example I would use to say that the Justice Dept. is going against the wishes of the Administration in defending the policy.

  • jason

    Don’t fall for Obama’s latest attempt to endear himself to us. He needs to be told that we aren’t falling for his carefully timed announcements. We in the gay community want him to carry out the promise he made to us at the last election – to repeal DADT.

    If he doesn’t do it soon, he doesn’t deserve one gay vote into the future.

  • Ioan

    I think this is wonderful. I have been afraid that if I go to a hospital and they don’t like the fact that I am married to a woman, they would deny her access to me. Now, perhaps I can breath a bit easier.

    I was very surprised a couple of years ago. My spouse came down with a case of labrynthitis and had to be hospitalised. I was very worried that I would not be allowed to see her or speak on her behalf. Fortunately, the staff was very understanding and I was allowed to visit with her to my heart’s content.

    As I said it is wonderful, but why did it take so long. So many couples have not been able to be together when one of them was dying. I just hope this sticks.

  • Ioan

    I forgot to add the cause of my suprise at being allowed total access to my spouse: this was a hospital in Evansville, Indiana.

  • The Artist

    @jason: Rotten eggs! Give the man a chance! I see that U want the world in a year. Spread the word… PEACELUVNBWILD!

  • jeffree

    The cynic says: Obama’s just doing this to make up for not doing anything with DADT, DOMA and ENDA.

    The pessimist says: He is signaling us that this the +only+ thing he will do for us.

    The tea partier says: There Obama goes with his socialist anti-Christian agenda

    The optimist says: Look! he is taking the first step of many to improve LGB rights

    The realist says: It’s an ok start, but we all know Obama can do WAY better than this.

  • Cam

    No. 9 · Cam

    To those people neging my comment. You do realize that I’m not saying that the justice Dept. is in the right. I am saying that this will be a tool the lawyers arguing for the repeal of DADT can use against the jusice dept. They can say “You represent the Administration and you are saying that the Adminstration feels that gays should be discrininated against, then why did they just give gays the right to…etc….

    I wasn’t arguing FOR DADT. I’m not MORMON! ;)

Comments are closed.