April 15th, 2010
07:58 PM ET

Obama orders hospital visit rights for gays, lesbians

[Updated at 7:57 p.m.] The president's memo Thursday notes that "There are few moments in our lives that call for great compassion and companionship that 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 ..."

Read the president's memorandum (PDF)

Gay and lesbian Americans are "uniquely affected" by the relatives-only policy at hospitals, Obama said, adding that they "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 listed widowers without children and members of certain religious orders among those who suffer under the policy.

Read the full CNN.com story

[Posted at 7:49 p.m.] President Barack Obama has told the Department of  Health and Human Services to establish a rule that would not allow hospitals to deny visitation privileges to gay and lesbian partners.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Gay and lesbian • Health • Politics
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. Kate

    Thank you, Mr. President.

    April 15, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chris

    What a great and admirable move. I do have a lot of this respect for Obama and what' he's done already for Gay rights. Can't wait to see where this momentum will take the gay community.

    April 15, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bob Zmuda

    Rationality? From a President? I love it!

    April 15, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Red

    Long overdue, and really only a minor "step forward", but good for the Prez for actually doing SOMETHING for the LGBT folks.

    April 15, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ron

    poco a poco. little by little.
    Someday....
    Someday people will look back and they won't be able to believe that GLBT folks were denied some of the most basic rights.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Katie

    FINALLY!

    I'm not homosexual, but I totally support this change in policy and am so happy that the President is recognizing this basic human right!

    Congratulations to everyone who this will effect!

    April 15, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. STORYBURNCOM

    Would you expect anything less from Obama?

    April 15, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brandon

    Pres. Obama is America's President!!!! Thank you for everything you are doing. We look forward to November 2010, and voting these neo-cons out of office.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John F Smalln

    I don't need the Presudebt's help on this matter. My partner and I have Legal Medical Power Attorney on each other, as well as Finanical and we are each other's Executor's of what estate we have. Cost us $2,500.00. Signed, sealed and delivered. With that said it would be nice for those who don't want to speand the money. However President Obama has not kept his promise to the GLB&T Community.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ryan

    Uhh, HIPAA. Either the patient waives it and they can have visitors or they don't and they can't. There is no exception for married couples.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Richard

    Yes! This makes so much sense!

    April 15, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. AK

    It may be a very long overdue and obvious policy for most people to see, but it is still a hugely important step which should not be overlooked.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Happy Calif

    He should really delegate this activity to cabinet members with his signature. We really have more pressing matters to deal with – like California State Bankruptcy and the trillions of National Debt. Maybe if the economy was moving well – employed gay couples could afford a doctor to take care of their sick partner at home.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rob W

    little by little--Rome wasn't built in a day--this man can multi-task unlike his predecessor who could barely speak!

    April 15, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Raul

    Thank You Mr. President!!!! NoH8

    April 15, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
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