Friday, February 22, 2008

A sad reminder ...

Just in case you thought it was all sunshine and puppydogs for gays in the New Millennium, here's something to make you think:

Dying Lesbian's Partner Denied Access To Her
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: February 22, 2008 - 1:00 pm ET

(Miami, Florida) Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond had planned to take their three children on a family cruise. The Olympia, Washington couple had been together 18 years and with their children were looking forward to the holiday.

But just as they were about to depart on the cruise from Miami, Florida. Pond, a healthy 39-year-old, suddenly collapsed. She was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami with Langbehn and the children following close behind.

But once Langbehn and the children arrived at the hospital the hospital refused to accept information from her about Ponds’s medical history.

Langbehn says she was informed that she was in an antigay city and state, and she could expect to receive no information or acknowledgment as family.

A doctor finally spoke with Janice telling her that there was no chance of recovery.

Other than one five minute visit, which was orchestrated by a Catholic priest at Langbehn’s request to perform last rites, and despite the doctor’s acknowledgement that no medical reason existed to prevent visitation, neither she nor her children were allowed to see Pond until nearly eight hours after their arrival.

Soon after Pond'’s death, Langbehn tried to get her death certificate in order to get life insurance and Social Security benefits for their children. She was denied both by the State of Florida and the Dade County Medical Examiner.

(more at the link)

This year's Presidential election is critical to the gay civil rights movement not just because we don't need another enemy in the White House blocking helpful legislation, but the Supreme Court is at the tipping point. It's already a little rough for us on there, and one more conservative appointment is going to insure that problems like the one this poor woman encountered in Florida don't go away anytime soon.


Anonymous said...

love the blog...this story pisses me off every time I see it. Not blaming the victim here, but an ounce of prevention could have avoided this painful event and we should all (meaning the 'gays') take it as a lesson. If the couple had taken the time to execute the proper power of attorney and health care proxy documents and had packed them (just like one would pack medication one would need on a trip), the hospital could not refuse the visitation.

These two have three kids, presumably a house, life insurance...etc. An hour with a lawyer to execute a few important papers to protect each other and all that they have created is not a huge hurdle. Frustrating, stupid, and infuriating...yes. But these two are poster children for the alternative.

Michigan is every bit a cultural backwater as Florida. Every couple should here should execute POAs (and keep copies as handy as possible) to ensure this never happens to them. The state is not going to protect us, you need to do it yourself. We are all unworthy of silly things like equal treatment, just ask your neighbors who voted in large numbers to enshrine discrimination into our state's constitution and ensure we are second class (PS..last time I checked, this state was a deep shade of Blue so I wouldn't be banking on anything changing with a Dem in the white house).

SupergayDetroit said...

It's pathetic that this happened and I hate to even think about shoulda coulda woulda, but it's true.

Not expecting big changes for the better with a dem in the white house, but hoping that will stop things from rolling backwards.

virgomusic said...

As a person who is lucky enough to have my marriage sanctioned by the state, (Thanks, Big Brother!) I've occasionally wondered why I don't need to carry any official document to prove it. If my husband were hospitalized, presumably I just have to say I'm his wife, and bingo -- I'm in! Though, I have a different last name, so I wonder if I'd ever get hassled, especially if we were in a city & state that was anti-feminist as well as anti-gay...

Anyway, I'd like to give this story to everyone I've ever heard say things like, "Oh, I don't have anything against gays, but I think changing traditional marriage is going too far." (I've heard this many times in the Detroit burbs, btw.) Gag me with a copy of On Our Backs.

Ed said...

Lollipops...don't forget the lollipops. Sunshine, puppydogs and lollipops!

Woodwards Friend said...

Just want to point out a critical fact about this year's "critical to the gay civil rights movement" election: During the 1996 race Bill Clinton ran ads on Christian radio touting his support for the Defense of Marriage Act. Lest one thinks that's ancient history he also encouraged John Kerry to support anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives in 2004.

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