LGBT Americans Can Now Visit Dying Partners in the Hospital

For those readers who are not American I want to inform you that, yes, life partners of dying individuals were banned from hospital rooms for being gay. Whereas your homophobic birth family that you hadn’t seen in decades would be allowed to waltz right in.

Well, at some point between authorizing assassinations and distributing hand-outs to health insurance corporations, Barack Obama dimly recalled he had made certain campaign promises to the LGBT crowd. Having mostly failed on this point, at least, at very least, he has righted a despicable wrong.

LGBT Americans can now visit their dying partners in the hospital.

Wow, look at Obama taking political risks on our behalf. I should send him a card.


9 thoughts on “LGBT Americans Can Now Visit Dying Partners in the Hospital

  1. GOBAMA! Thank you for subverting the same-sex marriage agenda by reinforcing the traditional marriage protector’s separate but equal claim. Numerous families will immediately benefit from this, but at what cost to (marriage) equality? It’s strange how concrete gains from your administration (almost) always feel like a slap in the face. Please let the rest of the Christian right & various privileged heterosexuals know that conferring rights associated with marriage on partnered same-sex couples does not give merit to their efforts to define marriage in an exclusionary fashion. Thanks, Chels

  2. I am alarmed by this, not because of any homosexual rights issues or whatever– I don’t care about that part of it– but because the President of the United States should not be allowed to micromanage hospitals’ visitation policies. Since when does he have the authority to do this? Don’t be fooled, this is not any victory for homosexuals; what this President has done, the next can just as easily undo. Homosexual rights have not gotten anywhere with this. This is a victory for the advance of tyranny.

    If we get used to the idea of the President being able to order this and that, then the President becomes more powerful and can alter things with increasing ease. So long as the President is on our side, this arrangement seems wonderful, and we applaud him every step of the way. But someday Obama won’t be in office any more, and his replacement will be every bit as powerful, every bit as dictatorial. If this new person’s political leanings go in the opposite direction (and eventually, ~somebody~ with a different opinion is going to get in there), life can quickly become a nightmare. Imagine if it were Mike Huckabee ordering the hospitals around.

    This hospital visitation thing is bad news for everybody, homosexuals included.

  3. @Alamanach

    How is having more rights “bad news” and “tyrannical”? It is not traditionally the mark of a tyrant to distribute more rights. Quite the opposite.

    Before, we had hospital rules based on prejudice against a minority. Now, it is no longer legal to discriminate in this way against the minority. You call this tyranny? I call it a basic human right.

    And you have the nerve to tell me that experiencing less prejudice is “bad” for we homos. Thanks for the concern.

  4. It’s not that rights were expanded, it is the way it was done. Obama ordered this unilaterally. What Obama can do, as I say, the next president can just as easily undo. The next President could even go further, and specifically prohibit hospitals from allowing gays any visitation rights at all.

    I appreciate that you are happy at this recent bit of good news, but don’t let that good news blind you to the larger issue here. The President has stepped way outside of what his bounds are supposed to be, and when that kind of thing starts happening, we are all in danger.

  5. The president has some executive powers. Is that really news?

    He simply asked an administrator to make sure that hospitals receiving government funds don’t discriminate. I guess that just doesn’t seem outside of any imaginable bounds for a president.

    I’m sure you’ll be shocked and alarmed to hear that the president gets to nominate Supreme Court Judges! And is Commander in Chief of the armed forces! And can unilaterally veto legislation! And can make Executive Orders! Signing statements! Head of State AND Government! OH MY GOD!!!!

    Ordering assassinations, perpetuating unjust wars, maintaining Gitmo, selling our country to big business…. now those are things to worry about, things that actually put real people in danger. Making sure federally-funded hospitals don’t discriminate… well I have to say that’s exactly the kind of thing I prefer a president to spend time on.

    Of all the things to worry about…

  6. From number 45 of the Federalist Papers:

    “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs; concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

    The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments in time of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government. The more adequate, indeed, the federal powers may be rendered to the national defence, the less frequent will be those scenes of danger which might favor their ascendancy over the governmants of the particular States.”

    The federal government in general was never intended to get deeply involved in domestic issues. Domestic issues are for states to resolve. As for the President, here are some comments from volume 1, part 1, chapter 8 of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America:

    “The king of France really constitutes a part of the sovereign power, since laws do not exist if he refuses to sanction them. He is also the executor of those laws.

    The president, too, is the executor of the law, but he does not really participate in making it, because even if he withholds his consent, he cannot prevent a law from existing. Hence he is not a part of the sovereign power; he is simply its agent… The president of the United States plays no role in determining the composition of the legislature and cannot dissolve it… The president does not have free access to Congress. His ministers also are barred. His only means of bringing his influence and opinions to bear on that great body are indirect… The president stands beside the legislature as an inferior and dependent power.”

    What Tocqueville describes is reflected in the examples of executive power that you cite. The President nominates judges, but the Senate approves them. He is Commander-in-Chief, but this makes him merely the top general; the military’s funding all comes through Congress, and Congress declares war and approves deployments. The President’s veto sends a bill back for reconsideration, nothing more. Executive Orders are directives that operate within the Executive branch, and must have the clear backing of law– law which comes from Congress– if they involve activities outside of the Executive branch. As head of state he can negotiate treaties, but the Senate must ratify those treaties. (And the Senate has been known to refuse some major treaties– the Treaty of Versailles, for example, which established the League of Nations that then-President Wilson pushed for so hard, never received Senate ratification.)

    So, federal government’s duties start pretty much at the border and look outward, and within that government, the President is second banana to Congress. The framers of the Constitution wanted it this way because the Legislative was the branch most closely tied to the ultimate source of political power, the people. If we have reached a point where the President is dictating what the visitation policies of hospitals shall be, then we are no longer living in the country that the founding fathers established.

  7. Wait, so the president should never make sure that institutions don’t discriminate because it could be undone by someone else later? How does this make sense? Never take an action because someone may try to take it back later – so do what exactly? No actions ever?

    I guess I fail to see the problem in extending rights to individuals who should have had that right all along. This serves the people and is about basic human rights. Where is the harm exactly? Hospitals’ discriminatory practice are being addressed in a way that benefits people.

    I have to agree with Havlova – am I supposed to be surprised that the president has certain executive powers?

  8. Thanks for covering 7th grade civics for me Alamanach. Because clearly because if I hold different opinions from you, it is because I am uneducated and have never heard of the federalist papers.

    I am not of the opinion that “the people” are the “ultimate source of political power” in this country. Just because text books describe an idealized theory of government doesn’t mean it exists in reality.

    Power corrupts. Most presidents act with impunity during their terms. A person could choose almost any action of the given president and make the melodramatic statement you make. (“If we have reached a point where the President is [fill in the blank], then we are no longer living in the country that the founding fathers established.”)

    For the last president we could have chosen the Iraq War, Gitmo, warrantless wiretapping, CIA black sites, secret legalization of torture etc. For Obama we could pick assassinations of Americans, for example. For some reason you draw the line between tyranny and democracy at banning discrimination against a minority. Why you would choose THAT instead of a suspect presidential decision where lives were lost says more about you than about Obama’s allegiance to the ideals of our founding fathers.

  9. “I am not of the opinion that “the people” are the “ultimate source of political power” in this country.”

    In that case, there’s nothing more I could say; you and I are inevitably going to disagree on this issue. All the same, thanks for hearing me out and thanks for the discussion.

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