Yes, They Can Do This To Us

Here's a story that reveals just how inhumane the ban on marriage equality can be:

Janice Langbehn, Lisa Marie Pond and three of their four children planned a cruise in February 2007 to celebrate the couple's 18 years together. But Pond suffered a massive stroke before the ship left port and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Hospital workers refused to let Langbehn into Pond's hospital room - even after a power of attorney was faxed to the hospital -- because they were not legally related...

Pond was pronounced dead of a brain aneurysm about 18 hours after being admitted to the trauma center. Langbehn said she was only allowed in to see her partner for a few minutes when a priest gave Pond the last rites.

"I never thought almost 20 years of love and family could be disregarded in an instant," Langbehn said.

Langbehn sued the hospital. Yesterday, she lost, as the case was dismissed by federal court:

"Today’s ruling comes after the Public Health Trust of the Miami Dade County, the governing body of Jackson Memorial Hospital, filed a motion to dismiss the case. The court ruled that the hospital has neither an obligation to allow their patients’ visitors nor any obligation whatsoever to provide their patients’ families, healthcare surrogates, or visitors with access to patients in their trauma unit."

David Link notes:

As a strictly legal matter, that may be true (the decision can still be appealed).  But as a moral matter, it is appalling.  Hospitals came into being because of human compassion for illness and suffering.  Whatever their legal obligations, preventing a woman from seeing her dying partner until the priest arrives to deliver Last Rites is a level of cruelty that should go down in the annals of depravity.  For the record, the hospital is Jackson Memorial ("One of America's finest medical facilities"), a name that should also be recorded for posterity.

When people talk about marriage as some kind of abstract matter, an interesting debate to be had, an issue to be discussed, they forget the actual, brutal consequences of laws that teat gay families as non-families and gay people as sub-human.

We are at the mercy of others, even at the hour of our death.