Staff Editorial

Obama right to give patients more power over visitation

The White House announced Thursday that all hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid payments will be mandated to allow patients to decide who can visit and who can help make medical decisions for them.

This means gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender patients will now be able to have their partners and loved ones by their side when they are in the hospital rather than having to be alone in a room.

While it may sound too cliché, this is one small step for gay rights and one giant leap toward equality for all.

We at The Daily Cougar commend President Barack Obama for this action, yet it is absurd that it has taken this country so long for this to happen.

Hospitals should never have had the right to decide who can be by a patient’s bedside in a time of need and who should sit in the waiting room while their loved ones are suffering, using the argument that if they are not married, then they are not “real” family members.

Just because two people do not have a marriage certificate does not mean they don’t love each or respect each other. A piece of paper should not be the permission pass needed to be with your partner when they need you the most.

If the country is not going to make it legal for individuals of the same sex to marry because of some faint idea that marriage is a “holy institution,” then this right at the very least should have been granted to individuals a long time ago.

Although this is a big step to end discrimination against homosexuals, this new requirement will also protect couples that have chosen not to marry and are not yet considered to be in a common law marriage, as well as individuals who rely on friends, rather than family, for comfort.

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