Readers of this blog know that my family policy agenda includes advance health care directive registries, first at the state level and then hopefully linked across the country. Today there's news of outrageous hospital behavior out of Florida. Janice Langbehn was denied access to her dying partner, Lisa Marie Pond, even after the power of attorney she held was faxed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Langbehn has filed a federal law suit claiming negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Gay rights legal group Lambda Legal represents Langbehn.
Before someone yells that this is why same-sex couples must be allowed to marry, consider just how long it will be before Florida, the only state that bans an individual gay person from adopting a child, recognizes same-sex marriages from elsewhere, let alone allows them in the state. Florida now has a statute banning same-sex marriage. And they will vote on a constitutional amendment to ban it in November.
We need a fix now and we need it for everyone, gay and straight, single and partnered. I'd like to see gay rights groups take the lead here, and I know they would find allies across the political spectrum. Meanwhile, what happened to Janice's family should be a crime, and I hope that Lambda's lawsuit will help spur a movement for free, easy-to-use advance health care directive registries.