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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Marie Lyn Bernard, aka Riese, is an award-winning writer, blogger, journalist, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in the midwest, lost her mind in New York City and is currently making it work in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better, The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image and The Hazards of Being Female," "Dirty Girls," and "The Best American Erotica of 2007," magazines including Nylon, Marie Claire, GO, Curve, Interlude, and CollegeBound, and all over the web including nerve.com, Jezebel, Queerty, Emily Books and OurChart (RIP). She was the recapper for The L Word Online and host of Showtime’s Lezberado and her personal blog has earned many dubious honors including Best Personal Blog 2008. Riese has spoken about blogging, community-building, feminism, cyberculture and sexuality at places like BlogHer, Yale, New York University, The University of Chicago and The Museum of Sex. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Interlochen Arts Academy and The Olive Garden's week-long training intensive; she enjoys eating foods, having big ideas, reading books & talking to her stuffed dog, Tinkerbell. Also, she's Jewish. Follow her smokin’ hot adventures on twitter. Contact: riese[at]autostraddle.com

Riese has written 2896 articles for us.


    • 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!

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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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