A history of dying alone
Gay people had long faced a cruel and inhumane limitation on their rights imposed across the United States by certain states and hospitals when they were denied the ability to visit their partners in hospitals. Many gay men and women died alone as their loving partners waited outside the hospital doors due to stringent rules prohibiting non-family members from having hospital visitation rights.
Lisa Pond was with her three children playing basketball on the first day of a 2007 cruise vacation when she collapsed from an aneurysm. The 39 year old mother was rushed by ambulance to a Florida medical center where she fought for her life all alone. Her partner of 18 years was not allowed to see Lisa. She and their children were never given the chance to say goodbye as her please to be at her partner’s deathbed were not granted because the couple from Lacey, Washington were lesbians.
This is just one story of countless documented cases where members of the gay community were treated without even a shred of common decency or humanity.
Help finally arrives
Thankfully, help finally came two years ago when President Obama mandated that all hospitals grant same-sex couples all the same rights as married heterosexual couples including visitation rights. Hospitals partaking in Medicare and Medicaid, under the new regulations, must allow all patients to decide visitation rights, as well as who to entrust with making medical decisions on their behalf, regardless of sexual or gender identity. According to the White House blog, “This policy impacts millions of LGBT Americans and their families. The President saw an injustice and felt very strongly about correcting this.” White House deputy director of public engagement Brian Bond wrote.
A human rights issue or an election issue?
In most of the civilized world, this would be considered a human rights issue, but this week it is simply an election issue –”Red Meat” for the base if you will. Following the last Presidential Debate, Bay Buchannan, in the spinroom, told buzzfeed, “Governor Romney supports a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. Governor Romney also believes, consistent with the 10th Amendment, that it should be left to states to decide whether to grant same-sex couples certain benefits, such as hospital visitation rights.”
Mitt Romney’s website proudly states:
Like any family, the Romneys have faced hardship: Ann was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, and more recently fought a battle with breast cancer. She credits her husband’s unwavering care and devotion to her for helping her through these ordeals.
So, while Mitt and Ann have a complete understanding of how important it is to be with your partner when facing a health crisis, he has promised to allow states to prohibit same-sex couples from having the same hospital visitation rights that he and Ann share. When it comes to exercising “unwavering care and devotion” it seems that is something only straight couples are capable of doing.
This is just one stark example of the 22 rights that gay and lesbian couples have now granted under the years with Obama in the White House that are almost guaranteed to disappear if Romney wins the presidency.
When it comes to common decency and being a good steward of humanity, Mitt Romney just isn’t looking out for the millions of gay and lesbians across this country who may face the very will prospect of starting to die alone once more.