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. Dante707

    Compassionate Conservatives are about as real as the Easter Bunny, but Compassionate Liberals do exist. Thank you, Mr President.

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

    This whole relatives only policy is so stupid. What if someone has no living relatives but has many good friends? Is he supposed to die alone? What if I don't want some bad relatives visiting me but I do want good friends to visit me? Aren't we all relatives if you go back far enough? I assume even the religious conservatives agree that we are all offspring of Adam and Eve. That makes everyone relatives to everyone else.

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

    Another contribution to the lack of morality in this country.

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

    I am out of a job, Mr. President. Who is going to take care of me?

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

    How absurd it is that it was ever in existence. Thank you Mr President for recognizing how wrong this was in the first place and doing something about it.

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

    When will the president allow hospital visits to non-gay partners?

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

    First thing Obama has done that I agree with. Although it is a shame that the government has to get evolved in a matter that it has no business in.

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

    Bravo Mr President. I am not Gay but love nd compassion for another should NOT be denied.
    I hope the Tea Baggers do not destroy the goodness of this act. We are ALL Human after all.

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

    Amen!! It's about time!!!! Thank you President Obama

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

    Finally, a politician who is willing to do the right thing. The only way visits can occur now is if you've each completed paperwork stating that the partner is allowed to visit or make decisions...and you have to carry the paperwork with you also. If not, forget visitation. And if a partner is unconscious when brought to the hospital? How can they give instructions as to who they want to visit and not. THANK YOU! This is REAL reform and REAL CHANGE.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Peter

    How big of a problem is this really? And before I get a lot of ranting and raving from everyone.....I run a nursing home and I have never had or heard of anyone barring gay or lesbian partners from visiting or for that matter working in my facility. I guess I didnt grown up with a lot of predjuice by I don't see this is as a really big deal..?

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

    Let's hope this is just one step on the road to repealing DOMA.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bob

    I was embarrassed to learn of the original law prohibiting G&L visitation rights. It hurt me to think about all the couples affected by this antiquated law at such a critical period in their lives. Thank you President Obama!

    April 15, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. HTN

    It's just a right thing to do. Thank you Mr. President!

    April 15, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mario denis

    Mr President,
    I am a 58 year old gay male in a relationship for 35 years. In Canada there is absolutely no problem or obstacle for a gay or lesbian partner to care for their loved one at home or at the hospital. I was amazed and shocked to hear of this glitch to basic human rights to care for a loved one, gay or non gay in the US.
    Home of the brave sure but Land of the free you say!!!!!
    Puzzling to me to hear such declaration with so many breeches of freedom.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
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