EQUALITY

Hospital Visitation Rights for Gays?

It's not gay marriage, but it's a small step in the right direction for same-sex couples. President Obama has signed a memorandum requiring hospitals to grant visitation rights and medical power of attorney to a same-sex partner. Before now, only blood relatives or legal spouses of patients were allowed to visit. Under the president's orders, the Department of Health and Human Services can no longer discriminate in hospital visitation, and the move will affect any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding. The decision will likely place Obama right in the middle of the same-sex marriage debate.