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Happy news: Obama extends hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners

April 15, 2010

From the Washington Post: (warning – for some reason the Post gives any credence to the opinions of “opponents of same sex marriage” in the article)

President Obama mandated Thursday that nearly all hospitals extend visitation rights to the partners of gay men and lesbians and respect patients’ choices about who may make critical health-care decisions for them, 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.

It covers “nearly all” hospitals because the mandate would apply to any hospital with medicare and medicaid funding, which is most.

I’ve written before about visitation rights as heterosexual privilege; as someone who has spent a lot of time in the hospital with a loved one, the idea that your love and value to someone can be denied because it’s not in one set vision is really upsetting. I see this as a huge victory – not necessarily a huge shift in the movement (although I applaud the activists who helped steer Obama towards this decision) but for the daily lives of couples and families across the United States.

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