President Obama has ordered
hospital visitation rights to be
expanded to same-sex partners. Hospitals have often prevented gay Americans from visiting their partners on the grounds that they aren't "real" family related by blood or marriage. The move is being met with
sweeping praise from liberal commentators, who almost uniformly call the
decision "long overdue." Here's what they're saying.
Biggest Gay Rights Step The Washington Post's Michael Schear calls it
"perhaps the most significant step so far in his efforts to expand the
rights of gay Americans." The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen beams, "The Obama
administration has taken some important steps over the last year on gay
rights, but arguably none is more important than the change announced
last night. ... The far-right can pout and send ugly fundraising letters
about this, but decent people will still be able to consider this
development for what it is: another breakthrough for decency,
compassion, and common sense."
- Bigger Than Just Gay Rights
Outside the Beltway's James Joyner explains,
"while all the attention is — rightly — being focused on gays and
lesbians, the order is actually more far reaching. ... Obama is ordering
a very broad right of hospital visitors to designate whomever they wish
be allowed to visit and carry out medical decisions. This will have a
disparate impact on homosexuals, of course, but it bypasses the 'special
rights' argument that opponents of gay rights typically cite. And
they’d have a point in this case were Obama to privilege homosexual
couples over non-married heterosexual couples."
- How Obama Can 'Force' This to Happen Conservative blogger Allahpundit explains how Obama bypassed Congress. "How
can the president 'force' American hospitals to alter their
discrimination policies? The same way Bush 'forced' some medical
researchers to avoid embryonic stem cells: By issuing an executive order
denying them federal funding if they don’t comply."
- OK, But
Where Are Our Marriage Rights? Liberal blogger Joe Sudbay holds Obama's feet to
the fire. "Some of us are still wondering if we have a friend in the
White House. Obviously, making sure gays and lesbians have 'the ability
to visit each other in hospitals' became a key issue for the President.
At least he's starting to deliver on that one. It's nice. But, frankly,
I'd prefer he work on repealing DOMA and finally get around to
supporting marriage equality."
- We'll Get There
ChicagoNow's Ryan Justice takes the long view. "Sure, I want marriage equality, and Don't Ask Don't Tell is
deplorable. But when it comes down to it, this is the one inequality
that truly works to separate gay couples in a times of need. We still
have a ways to go before we are no longer second class citizens in the
eyes of the law, but its one step closer to equality."
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