President Obama mandated visitation rights for partners of gays and lesbians in hospitals who receive Medicaid and Medicare funding. Far too often in the past, parents of gays and lesbians held all the power and partners could be prevented from even seeing their signficant other.
According to the Washington Post:
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 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 currently common policy in many hospitals that only those related by blood or marriage be allowed to visit patients.
“Discrimination touches every facet of the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including at times of crisis and illness, when we need our loved ones with us more than ever,” Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in praising the decision.
Hopefully this right would be extended to any partnership, not just a partnership between gays. Straight people have unconventional relationships also. However, this is a good place to start.