Obama Orders Hospital Visiting Rights for LGBT Community
When Sarah Palin screeches, “How’s that hopey changey thing workin’?, insinuating that just because she is being snide and nasty nothing good is happening in the world, I always want to take her to the kitchen sink and rinse her mouth out with soap like my Baptist friend taught me to do with all naughty children. But instead, being the harm yourself before others liberal I am, I dig my nails into my palms and thank God she is not in the White House.
And today is another day in which we share the glory of yet one more small but significant step forward in human rights that would most certainly not be happening under a McCain Palin administration. I have to admit, it’s hard to even type that phrase without snickering, as never have I seen two more sore losers go so far out of their way to prove they care not for governing but for glory. But let us move on to the good stuff, being the landslide winners of 2008 election that we are.
Today we can celebrate Hopey ordering the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a rule that would prevent hospitals who participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs (the majority of hospitals) from denying visitation privileges to gay and lesbian partners, among other groups who suffer discrimination under the current prevailing policy of “relative-only” visitation.
On NPR this morning, James Esseks of the ACLU’s LGBT project called the memo a huge deal that harms no one and helps many people.
Previously, gay and lesbian couples had no rights to visitation of their loved one at hospitals where “relative-only” policies often prevail. They were not only unable to visit, but unable to participate in medical decisions for their partner. The President’s memorandum is not law but rather a directive requesting regulation.
Yes, I used the word regulation. You will no doubt be hearing about how Obama is taking over hospitals now, as this memorandum is an example of the Democratic belief that the government has a role to play in the health and welfare of the people via regulation versus the survival of the fittest mentality dominating the borrow and spend free-wheeling Republicans. The Right also objected in 1965 when Lyndon Johnson used Medicare as a way to further human rights, when he made desegregation mandatory for hospitals using Medicare funding.
Our President’s memorandum read (PDF) via CNN:
“(E)very day, all across America, patients are denied the kindnesses and caring of a loved one at their sides — whether in a sudden medical emergency or a prolonged hospital stay. Often, a widow or widower with no children is denied the support and comfort of a good friend. Members of religious orders are sometimes unable to choose someone other than an immediate family member to visit them and make medical decisions on their behalf. Also uniquely affected are gay and lesbian Americans who are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives — unable to be there for the person they love, and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated…”
The President’s memo also orders that participating hospitals may not deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
How’s that Hopey Changey thing workin’ out for me? Oh, it’s just grand, thank you. Every day we take another small but significant step in human rights. Every step we take forward represents not only a step we did not take backward into a Christian Nationalistic Fascist State of Eye for an Eye Justice, but gives us hope that the people also want their government to participate in social justice for all.
Yes, this Hopey Changey stuff is just grand.
Update: Apparently, the Right is attacking this order by whining that Obama is “attacking marriage”. To that, I can only suggest that the Republicans have been doing a fine job of undermining marriage on their own with their record-setting infidelities and airport bathroom taps. This memo is not an attack on marriage, it is an attack on social injustice, just as Jesus would have wished. Hence, this order represents family values at their core, instead of the jingoistic version we hear from the hypocrites waving flags and inaccurately claiming they have the moral high ground on family values.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.