Friday, April 16, 2010

Obama bans hospital visitation discrimination against gays and lesbians

He's been slow to act on DADT, and his silly opposition to same-sex marriage in favour of civil unions may be more political than personal, but what President Obama did yesterday deserves some serious praise:

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, once in place, 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 humane, it is compassionate, it is sensible, and it is a huge step in the right direction towards full equality for gays and lesbians, and for the committed and meaningful relationships they have.

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