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. tony

    Im surprised there had to be a rule change to bring this about. Its never crossed my mind but I would have assumed they were alloawed in as family

    April 15, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Patrick

    This is an amazing move. Very happy to hear this.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Athelstan

    This problem is much rarer than the story indicates. I've never had a problem visiting people and have found hospitals to be rather flexible with visiting hours more often than not. Of course, hospitals should allow significant others to visit in hospitals; but, we don't need federal government intervention.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kathy petersen

    That is AWESOME! Way to go. FINALLY, a president that steps up to the plate and does the "right"thing.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rachel

    I hadn't even realized this was an issue...how incredibly demeaning...

    April 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. idea

    What the right wingers think about it? They will blast Obama again....just watch.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sbtim

    You know, this is a pretty common-sense thing to do, I don't see why everyone is praising Obama like he's some sort of genius. I could have done this.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Julia

    This policy wouldn't even be necessary if gays and lesbians could marry. One step forward, two steps back Obama.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. WFE

    Everyone deserves that decency and humanity. Thank you, Mr. President.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Zander

    The right policy, to be certain, but I'm curious how the HHS directive will be worded so as to avoid running afoul of DOMA 1996.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nick

    Finally, someone who doesn't let false beliefs get in the way of rationality.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eric

    This was a long time coming. Thank you Mr. President for your courage on this matter. I've never felt prouder to have supported you.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rob

    It's just one small step but it will have a monumental impact on the gay and lesbian community. I, for one, am glad to see it.

    Gay and lesbian couples in the US live their lives just the same as heterosexual couples. They pay taxes, they support the communities in which they live and they are treated as less than equal. Often times, they themselves are the ones provided the care or services to the very people that want to hold them back from seeing their partner when their partner needs their love and compassion the most.

    Congratulations, President Obama, for your compassion, concern and open-mind.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Slosb

    Thank you Mr. President!

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

    It's about time. Thanks, Mr. President!

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