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. Park

    This is cool attitude. One step closer for U.S.A

    April 17, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dainty

    I am impressed by his micromanagement

    April 18, 2010 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sarah

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    April 18, 2010 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Yvonne

    A family is just a group of people that love each other and it should not matter if it is not biological. Thank God that GLBT and 2 Spirited People are equal in Canada and can marry. Congratulations President Obama for moving ahead.

    April 18, 2010 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. BonjourJuliette

    Yeah, thank you Mister O!

    April 18, 2010 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Graham

    I am stunned that this has only just happened. But pleased that it has at last.

    April 18, 2010 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. chelsey

    very very good move. im a very big supporter of the LGBT community. small step, but its a step that counts. Progress can sometimes be a slow process. you just have to be willing to take the time to make it. OBAMA!!

    April 18, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. Terri

    This is more ridiculous grandstanding. The "problem" is extremely rare. Too, adults are perfectly capable of preparing an Advanced Directive and Durable POA naming special considerations in a critical time, naming decision makers, barring visitors, naming special religious or medical needs or taboo. He didn't DO anything. Pfft.

    April 18, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pete

    I'm Christian. I'm not gay. I'm not an Obama supporter. However, it seems to me that anyone who is in a hospital should be allowed to have their loved ones at their side. I applaud this.

    April 18, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Luke

    Wow. I can't believe this was a rule in America in the first place. I'm a Christian and don't believe in homosexuality, but this is just wrong. A person is a person, regardless of their choices, and they deserve to be treated equally. Thank you President Obama.

    April 18, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. canuckdeal

    I am very greatful to the Obama administration for making this important policay announcement that helps open the path to normalized rights for gay and lesbian (and transgender) people in the United States of America. – Dan Hanley, Canadian Resident and American Citizen. Peace out to my friends in New York City!

    April 18, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jjheinis

    Surprised that this is considered newsworthy. Should be done as a matter of course. Slow day at CNN

    April 19, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. MarkP

    Now, my knowledge of the way the American system works may be less than desired, so I might be wrong, but:
    Doesn't your constitution say that ANY matter which is not spelled out as a matter for the Federal government, is a matter for the individual States?

    If that is the case, then wouldn't the Federal government's forcing this issue be unconstitutional, as it would be a matter for the states?

    April 20, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jodyn

    As a nurse for the past 45 years, I have never worked in any place that denied visitor's rights to anyone–the only stipulation is to have consent from the patient. It is totally up to the patient to state who they want info shared with, etc. Violation of the patient's confidence is strictly prohibited, but the patient has total control over who visits, and with whom confidential information may be shared. So I guess my question would be, when and where was there ever any incident where visiting rights were ever denied to anyone that had given permission for any individual to visit?

    April 30, 2010 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
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