Janice Langbehn and Lisa Marie Pond: Homosexual Visitation Rights
Janice Langbehn and Lisa Marie Pond Highlight Obama's Homosexual Hospital Visitation Rights
President Obama's recent suggestion to the Department of Health and Human Services to create a rule that would prevent hospitals from denying homosexuals from visiting their partners was largely inspired from gay couple Janice Langbehn and Lisa Marie Pond.
When Pond collapsed during a family vacation three years ago, her partner for 17 years, Janice Langbehn, was forbidden to see her loved one. Langbehn begged and pleaded for hours to be given access to the room, but was denied. Langbehn said she was allowed in to see her partner for only five minutes as a priest gave Pond the last rites.
Pond died from a brain aneurysm while Langbehn was forced to stay in the waiting room. It wasn't until Pond's sister arrived at the Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital that Langbehn got any information.
"To hold Lisa's hand wasn't a gay right, it was a human right," Langbehn told CNN on Thursday.
Obama requested that the regulation make clear that any hospital receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding, which includes the vast majority of U.S. hospitals, must allow patients to decide who can visit them and prohibit discrimination based on a variety of characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
Hospital Visitation Rights for Gays and Lesbians
Obama's statement was greeted enthusiastically by the gay and lesbian community, who have used the visitation rights issue in the pro-gay marriage argument.
President Obama personally called Langbehn to apologize for the way she was treated. Langbehn, who said she tried for years to get an apology from the Miami hospital without success, says she was humbled by the phone call and believes that the new rule would mean that her partner didn't die in vain.