For Immediate Release
President Obama Calls for Medical Decision-Making and Hospital Visitation Rights
NEW YORK - Statement from Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, on
President Obama's directive to the Department of Health and Human Services to
create new rules providing same-sex couples hospital visitation and medical
decision-making rights in any hospital participating in Medicaid or Medicare:
President's directive is a small, but welcome step forward. It addresses one of the many ways same-sex
couples and their loved ones are made vulnerable and harmed by the denial of
marriage and the safety-net of protections marriage brings - in this case, the
assurance that a spouse can be by a loved one's hospital bedside and participate
in medical decision-making at a time of great need. The Administration's step today, though small,
will mean a lot to many people in harm's way.
The President's memo is particularly noteworthy in its acknowledgment of
how same-sex couples are uniquely affected by marriage discrimination and are
thus in need of this kind of remedial presidential directive. Of course, the real cure is to end exclusion
from marriage, pass the federal Respective for Marriage Act, and provide all
families the full measure of protections.
Piecemeal steps, addressing one protection at a time, will take up a lot
more time than either the Administration or American families can afford."
Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Headed by Evan Wolfson, one of America's leading civil rights advocates and lawyers, Freedom to Marry brings new resources and a renewed context of urgency and opportunity to this social justice movement.