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. J

    YES!!! Thank you! Small steps to success 😀

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

    Thank you Mr. President for common sense and compassion.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ellis Island

    It is utterly incredible that such a policy has ever been in place. Where is compassion in this world? Obama's action should have never, ever been needed. Bravo, Mr. President. Thank you for caring about an issue that most of us would never have to think about!

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

    wow...this world is really getting messed up. I believe what we need is a president with morals, not corrupting them trying to please 2% of the population.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonm

      Actually GBLT community comprises about 7% of our population take into account all of there families and thats 30% of our population that's directly affected By this. But even if it was ur utterly wrong figure we're talking about human rights............ oh but I guess that doesn't apply to them cause God hates them.... way to go Hope ur name doesn't ring true and ur a bigot in 2010

      April 15, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. skeptic

    This is a change that is long overdue. With the stroke of a pen, Obama has washed away years of suffering.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. David

    A great sign of progress, and a great sigh of relief—I voted for the right guy.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Becky Jones

    Attn : happy calif

    If your loved one was in a hospital and you weren't allowed in to see them – you would consider the issue to be quite pressing.

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

    Wow. I love my President. Thank you Sir. : )

    April 15, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bobby

    He just told them to, it isn't in effect, and doesn't mean it will be. I'll celebrate when it happens

    April 15, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chuck

    thanks for bringing us out of the dark ages

    April 15, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff

    Good things take time to happen. Glad we've got this guy in office. Little by little is right. Little by little, this guy's making his way to be one of the best presidents for the people.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeffrey M.

    Nuclear weapons treaties that make sense and make the world safer, focusing our military efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan where the terrorists are (and always have been), fairness for the LGBT community, health care reform and he actually uses diplomacy which has improved our relationships with countless countries.

    Obama has done more to benefit this country in 15 months than our last 5 presidents did in 32 years. It's so disgusting that people can't see beyond his complexion and partisan vendettas to understand that.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Zander

    @ Happy Calif:

    Obama *is* delegating it to his cabinet—he is ordering HHS to establish the rule. All that is meant by this news is that he is publicly announcing that he instructed his the Department to do this.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brad

    It is about time!!

    April 15, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joe Farrell

    A great day for human rights!

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