Family friendly?

by lestro

Yesterday, on The Commentators on KOMO radio in Seattle, they were discussing the law signed today by the Governor, which gives all of the rights and privileges of marriage to domestic partners that spouses automatically get (once again proving my point that not allowing gays to marry in this state is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, as these are rights and privileges granted to one class of people that were denied another) and John Carlson, the show’s right-wing voice (and former Republican candidate for Governor) made reference to states becoming less “family friendly” as they become more “gay friendly.”

And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how those two things were opposites, but I didn’t have time to call in to the station and ask.

Then, this afternoon, as if to prove that “family friendly” and “anti-gay” are not the same thing (as well as providing a perfect example of Washington State’s shiny new “separate but equal” law will fail like every Plessy v. Ferguson before it), the New York Times ran a story about a gay family who had a medical emergency while on vacation.

One woman, part of a longtime couple in Washington state suffered an aneurysm while the family was vacationing in Florida. Essentially, the woman’s partner of 18 years (longer than most “opposite marriages” last) was denied access to see her before she died – as were the couple’s adopted children – and the hospital denied her information about partner’s condition because she was not “real family.”

The details are ugly:

Ms. Langbehn says that a hospital social worker informed her that she was in an “antigay city and state” and that she would need a health care proxy to get information. (The worker denies having made the statement, Mr. Alonso said.) As the social worker turned to leave, Ms. Langbehn stopped him. “I said: ‘Wait a minute. I have those health care proxies,’ ” she said. She called a friend to fax the papers.

The medical chart shows that the documents arrived around 4:15 p.m., but nobody immediately spoke to Ms. Langbehn about Ms. Ponds’s condition. During her eight-hour stay in the trauma unit waiting room, Ms. Langbehn says, she had two brief encounters with doctors. Around 5:20 a doctor sought her consent for a “brain monitor” but offered no update about the patient’s condition. Around 6:20, two doctors told her there was no hope for a recovery.

Despite repeated requests to see her partner, Ms. Langbehn says she was given just one five-minute visit, when a priest administered last rites. She says she continued to plead with a hospital worker that the children be allowed to see their mother, even showing the children’s birth certificates.

“I said to the receptionist, ‘Look, they’re her kids,’ ” Ms. Langbehn said. (Mr. Alonso, the hospital spokesman, says that except in special circumstances, children under 14 are not allowed to visit in the trauma unit.)

Ms. Langbehn says she was repeatedly told to keep waiting. Then, at 11:30 p.m., Ms. Ponds’s sister arrived at the unit. According to the lawsuit, the hospital workers immediately told her that Ms. Ponds had been moved an hour earlier to the intensive care unit and provided her room number.

That’s just despicable.

And there’s nothing “family friendly” about it. This was nothing more than bigotry, modern day Jim Crow, used to keep a family apart and denied their final moments with loved ones.

This is yet another reason to root for the storm when a hurricane approaches Florida.

Next time someone tries to use “family friendly” as an antithesis to “gay rights,” call them out in public and shame them into telling you how those two are opposites.

Remember this story and the bile I hope it made well up in your stomach. Tell it and ask how this state-sponsored bigotry was “family friendly,” considering they did everything they could to keep this family apart.

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