President Obama Calls for Medical Decision-Making and Hospital Visitation Rights


"A Small, But Welcome Step Forward"
For Immediate Release:  
April 16, 2010, New York, NY 
Sean Eldridge

Director of Communications, Freedom to Marry
New York, NY--Statement from Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, on President Obama's directive to the Department of Health and Human Services to create new rules providing same-sex couples hospital visitation and medical decision-making rights in any hospital participating in Medicaid or Medicare:
"The President's directive is a small, but welcome step forward.  It addresses one of the many ways same-sex couples and their loved ones are made vulnerable and harmed by the denial of marriage and the safety-net of protections marriage brings - in this case, the assurance that a spouse can be by a loved one's hospital bedside and participate in medical decision-making at a time of great need.  The Administration's step today, though small, will mean a lot to many people in harm's way.  The President's memo is particularly noteworthy in its acknowledgment of how same-sex couples are uniquely affected by marriage discrimination and are thus in need of this kind of remedial presidential directive.  Of course, the real cure is to end exclusion from marriage, pass the federal Respective for Marriage Act, and provide all families the full measure of protections.  Piecemeal steps, addressing one protection at a time, will take up a lot more time than either the Administration or American families can afford."
Freedom to Marry is the leading campaign working to win marriage nationwide.  We partner with organizations and supporters across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from the responsibilities, protections, and commitment of marriage.