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04/23/2009

OR, you could just let them marry

by Jeremy Hooper

Q. Why can we never even begin to entertain the idea that it's acceptable to stop short of full marriage equality?

A. Truly life and death matters like this:

PORTLAND -- A visit to Oregon Health and Science University hospital turned into a frustrating situation for a gay couple who said their rights as domestic partners were not honored until a lawyer got involved.

The domestic partner of a man who appeared to be near death was reportedly ordered to leave the room when it was time to make some major decisions about the patient.
Gay man says he was forced out of partner's room at OHSU [KGW]

Happily, this man's partner survived. On the flip side: So did sick biases.

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Your thoughts

I don't know... On the surface it SEEMS like discrimination, but as I read the article and I am not so sure.

First, the man's partner being near death would probably mean that their was a imminent medical emergency. It could be possible that in such a crises the hospital staff needed room to work (i.e. room for doctor and nurses, bringing in medical equipment, etc. )

But the hospital staff referring to the man's DP as a friend raises questions.

Posted by: Jeff Chang | Apr 23, 2009 5:23:50 PM

Jeff, I thought that too, when I first read it, but if it was in the ER, they wouldn't have let anyone in the room. The distinction, as you suggested, here was that they wouldn't let "friends" stay in the room.

I only know that if I were in that situation, I would have informed them that I was the domestic partner of the patient, and only after they continued to bar me from the room, would I have called my attorney. I would assume that would be the way that everyone would react, but we don't really know in this case.

The cynical side of me wants to say that the religious beliefs of medical professionals have no place whatever in Emergency Rooms, and am hoping that the bastard who threw him out of the room gets fired for allowing his/her personal beliefs to rule in the situation. But (at least so far) we don't know that either.

The one thing that is absolutely certain is that everyone deserves to be treated identically the same - whether they are opposite sex couples or same sex couples. And, while the hospital might have just been ensuring the public that their policies do not discriminate, the fact that they said that they will be formally training their employees suggests that the issue might have been more pernicious.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Apr 23, 2009 6:40:56 PM

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