In a move that will help help hundreds of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
families, President Barack Obama today asked the Department of Health and Human Services to create a rule preventing hospitals from denying visitation rights to gay and lesbian partners.
According to a CNN report, the president's memo said, "There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than 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."
Obama asked that the regulation make clear that any hospital receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding must allow patients to decide who can visit them and prohibit discrimination based on characteristics such as sexual orientation and gender identity.
Today's memo was celebrated by many gays and lesbians, who have used the restrictions on hospital visitation as an argument in favor of same-sex marriage.