Obama’s Letting Lesbians Bring Feelings Into Other Lesbians’ Hospital Rooms


President Obama FTW! Obama ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a rule that would prevent hospitals from denying visitation privileges to gay & lesbian partners.

“There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital. … Yet every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindnesses and caring of a loved one at their sides.”

It’s worth mentioning that the GLBT community did an AMAZING job spreading the story of one of the cases which inspired this new policy: that of an Olympia, Washington, lesbian couple who were kept apart as one died from an aneurysm while hospitalized in Miami, Florida. The couple, Janice Langbehn and Lisa Marie Pond, had just boarded an R-Family cruise with their two children when Pond had an aneurysm. The hospital would not accept the appropriate power of attorney papers sent there and denied Langbehn visitation rights.

Pam’s House Blend has a roundup of gay blogger reactions to the piece. Pam also received an email from Janice Langbehn about the directive:

hi Pam, thank you for covering the story about President Obama calling me and signing the memo yesterday. I know we have long way to go in the LGBT movement but if the memo enlightens one health care facility so that holding someones hand as they are dying is not a GAY right but a HUMAN right – I will take it.

Unfortunately it those last precious hours with Lisa the kids and I will NEVER get back – and at least President Obama was willing to say he was sorry for how we were treated. Jackson Memorial in Miami REFUSES to apologize to the kids and I.

thanks Pam!

Politico pointed out that “the lens of the gay rights movement is, increasingly, full marriage equality, putting a limit on the credit Obama can win for incremental steps.”

Some other worries include how this will be enforced. Most likely, it will be through the threat of pulling Medicare/Medicaid benefits. According to Newsweek, that made one blogger worry that Catholic hospitals might just stop accepting Medicare and Medicaid, similar to how the Church pulled charity programs in response to DC passing a gay marriage law.


But also we lost our appeal and have to surrender documents related to Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban. On Top Magazine reports that “Chief US District Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling required pro-gay marriage groups to hand over Proposition 8 campaign materials to defendants in the high-profile trial considering the ban’s constitutionality.” (@ontop mag)


Today’s the National Day of Silence to raise awareness of the too-common bullying of LGBT students. (@associatedcontent)


The gay rumors about possible Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, which we talked about the other day, have started to really piss some people off, including the White House. The administration has emphatically insisted that Kagan is straight. Obvs whenever gay rumors happen and then they’re denied, people start to wonder what’s so wrong with being called gay? As Gawker puts it: Why is the White House treating lesbian rumors like allegations of vampiric necrophilia? When CBS republished a column repeating the rumor that possible Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is a lesbian, the White House responded furiously. Because lesbians are terrible?

It’s a double-edged sword. Of course, rumors should always be cleared up. Should we be attacking the White House for spreading the truth? Is it just that they’re doing it so vehemently? It’s not like they’re trying to nominate someone who doesn’t believe in gay rights.


Constance McMillen will be the grand marshal of the New York City Pride parade. Fun! Autostraddle will be there, too!

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3199 articles for us.


  1. Could catholic hospitals even function without medicare/medicaid money? I doubt they will go so far as to reject the funding over hospital visitation rights.

    • You’re probably right — but I have to say, as a person who is on Medicaid, most places don’t like to take it because it’s really annoying w/r/t paperwork. I don’t know if hospitals work the same way, but the clinics and doctors I can see under Medicaid more or less suck balls compared to what my better-insured friends can see. I’ve waited up to 6 hours past my appointment time to see my doctor.

    • According to my brother, this was how they accomplished racial integration of hospitals in the South. They’d lose half their patients and all their goodwill.

      Although it would be spectacularly sucky for communities that only have a Catholic hospital, like the town I used to live in!

  2. hey now you can get in my hospital room without my mother’s permission!

    good to hear something new about prop 8 too, that closing arguments might be soonish

    • helloooo.
      Anyone care to fill me in on what the current story with prop 8 is? The paragraph said they had lost the appeal, If they have what is the next step?

      • That appeal was just about whether to turn over some documents to the other side. The trial itself is still undecided. Like Jenn says, they haven’t had closing arguments yet. Judge Walker should ask for those soon.

  3. dear obama,
    thanks, i assume the rest of my rights will be on their way sometime next week?
    love, rachel

  4. Rachel – co-sign.

    Although this is a win, we’ve still got a long way to go toward equality. This is honestly the LEAST he could do, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

  5. I’m not sure how I feel about the Day of Silence. Yesterday I was standing next to two girls and they were bitching about how annoying gays are, and why can’t they keep their problems to themselves, and why do they complain about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” w/r/t the Armed Forces?

    It may just be where I live, but it seems to me like most ignorant homophobes WANT gays to shut up.

  6. If the judge in San Francisco rules in favor of gay marriage, San Francisco is going to fall right into the ocean. Watch as all unfolds. Gays will wake up and see God is not an uninterested spectator. He made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.

    • So when are Maine and Connecticut and New Hampshire and freaking Iowa scheduled to fall into the ocean?

          • Yes, we legalize gay marriage and 14 years later a volcano erupts, this is clearly the sign of divine intervention.

          • Don’t be silly, it’s daring to vote in a gay prime minister who has entered into one of these vile unions that triggered the Ash Cloud of Doom, which is probs the start of the collapse of western civilisation.

            I’m holding you personally responsible for all this Ziggy.

          • It was 200+ years between their pact with the Devil to overthrow the French and the earthquake in Haiti. God’s really picking up the pace.

            In all seriousness though, if De Gaulle isn’t open by Wednesday I will possibly have a total meltdown. If you don’t hear from me for a while, send search parties.

          • I misread that as search pirates then, and had very engaging mental diversion about a flotilla of peg-legged me-hearties scouring the seven seas for you after you resorted to ill-fated ocean-based escaped due to lack of air travel.

          • If you do send search pirates, please have them commandeer some corn bread and Dr. Pepper on their way. That way if I can’t see my family I can at least fill the void with carbs from home.

          • Wtf, everyone in scandinavia has gay marriage except us and fucking Denmark? Why you always gotta make me look bad Finland?

          • Get on it, Finland!

            Though you do have a lady President, so surely you get some kind of bonus points of honorable mention for that?

    • oh gosh, comment award please for this one–strictly for the lame-o “adam and steve” argument! i haven’t heard that one in a while!

    • Oooh I love love love that this uses climate change (seriously, sf is in big trouble, esp the airport) to prove God’s wrath against those whosupport gay rights. I might not be able to campaign on both issues anymore, shit.

      • Oh sorry I just woke up n I’m not thinking straight. It makes complete logical sense to fight for rights and against climate change. I’d just be facing down god a lil more directly in the second fight, if what peace says is true.

  7. You guys, I am SO glad Canada hasn’t fallen into the ocean yet. I know, only a matter of time, but my nephew still has to master the water wings.

  8. Having been with guys most my life, and now my gf 4evs, I have to say the scariest thought for me was her being hurt and me not seeing her in the hospital. This decision has changed my life/anxiety level. Long way to go, yes, but a law we have needed changed for a while now.

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