President Barack Obama issued a memorandum on April 15 that instructs the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a rule that would prohibit hospitals from denying visitation rights to same-sex partners, and allow same-sex couples to share medical power of attorney. The new rule will affect any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding.
“With this action, the government is taking a significant step toward recognizing our underlying humanity,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in a statement to the press. “Most people in this country already agree that no one should be left alone to die or be denied the right to see their loved ones in the hospital due to cruel and discriminatory bias. This is a profoundly painful experience that loving families all across the country have had to endure for years. An end to this practice can’t come soon enough. We are pleased the administration has taken this step.”
—by Nancy Ford