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Friday, May 22, 2009

Defining Partnership

Due to the personal situation of a close friend, I've been giving a lot of thought lately to the hospital visitation rights of same-sex and heterosexual, non-married partners.  As reported in the NYT several days ago, the Human Rights Campaign recently released its Healthcare Equality Index, a report on the treatment of those in the GLBT community by healthcare facilities.  The results are disheartening:  while several facilities have policies that purport to offer rights to, for example, same-sex partners in the event of one partner's medical emergency, the implementation of those policies is often botched.  As a result, in some situations even those partners with legal rights are shut out of the decision-making process with respect to their partner's treatment, and are denied access to that partner even as s/he is dying. 

If the myriad legal tools offered in the various states are insufficient to protect same-sex partners (and, by some accounts, non-married, heterosexual partners), is it time for nationwide protection?  I doubt we are going to see a change in the DOMA language anytime soon, but I'm not sure we need to go that far to solve this particular problem (although I do support same-sex marriage rights).   So, what would a partner-protection law in the healthcare context look like?  What concerns would opponents put forth that should be addressed?  And what enforcement measures should be put into place?

Posted by Nadine Farid on May 22, 2009 at 01:19 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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For starters, it seems only logical that any person granted powers as healthcare proxy should have more rights than a spouse to visit the sick and dying. Same with durable power of attorney.

Posted by: jimbino | May 24, 2009 9:26:43 PM

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