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. Bonnie

    Thank God! I remember the first time I realized what the "relatives only" policy meant to homosexuals was when that story in Florida broke. How hard must your heart be to refuse someone in pain a little solace and comfort?

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

    Thank you very much!! My partner and I of 10 years both thank you!!

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

    GO MR Boma doing a great job!! Ok what about the rest of us?????? health care 1st u need a JOB!

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

    thank you for caring about us, when most people don't.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hector N

    Thank You President Obama! He is becoming one of the GREAT presidents in our history. In so little time,he's accomplished staggering feats! This marks another great moment in his presidency. YES WE CAN!!!

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

    All I can say is "Thank you."

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

    if we're not careful, we could wind up creating an enlightened society governed by reason and common sense.

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

    Thank God! Finally!

    April 15, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Christopher Howe

    Long overdue, but thank you Mr. President... NoH8

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

    Thank you Mr. President!

    April 15, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dave

    Thank you for treating us like humans – we live, love, and die – just like everyone else!

    April 15, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Robbie T. Campbell (Soon to be RN)

    This decision not only effects my patient, but also my career! Helping a patient see there loved one would endanger my job in certain hospitals, if there loved one were of the same sex. This decision not only protects my patients rights and dignity, but it protects Nurses who chose to do the right thing every day by sneaking in their patient's same sex partners for a visit! Thank you Mr. President, but don't forget the many, many other areas of life in which homosexuals are discriminated against (taxes, insurance, etc).

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

    Thank you Mr. President

    April 15, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Howard3

    So, is it now up to the hospital to decide family vs partner? Or will Obama appoint a czar for that?

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

    This made my heart skip a little. Gleefully.

    Thank you.

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