I received the following email from the Human Rights Campaign. I am passing it on to our readers of The Pagan and the Pen and asking that you do the same as well.
Last week, President Obama issued an historic memorandum to help ensure equal access to hospital visits and decision-making rights for same-sex couples.
It’s a critical step forward for the rights of same-sex couples, one we’ve been working on with the White House for the past year.
The Department of Health and Human Services must issue regulations implementing the President’s directive, and those won’t go into effect for at least several months. If you’re part of a same-sex couple and you want to make the most of those forthcoming protections and protect your family as much as possible right now – you must have the proper legal documentation in place.
So what documents do you need exactly? You’ll need visitation forms to make sure your family and friends can visit you, as well as a health care proxy and living will to ensure that those who know you the best can make medical decisions on your behalf in an emergency.
You can find out more and download sample forms at: http://www.hrc.org/issues/protect-your-visitation-and-decision-making-rights.htm
This is also a good time to let you know about two other great resources from HRC.
The first is the Healthcare Equality Index, our groundbreaking nationwide report on healthcare facilities’ policies around lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. This index was a key resource in our efforts with the White House on this memorandum – and you can use it to find out the policies of your nearest hospital. The next edition of the Healthcare Equality Index is due to be released in early June.
The second is a very useful list of legal documents to help you protect your family – until same-sex couples are granted the same rights as all couples, everywhere.
No one else should find themselves shut out of a loved one’s hospital room.