WOW! I'm crying. I think all of us must be. My own story:
My late partner Tom told me this story. I only have his word for it.
His own late partner cheated, and contracted HIV. In turn he infected my Tom, who had no idea his partner was poz.
When AIDS developed my Tom took care of his partner, who had no medical insurance. Tom went bankrupt with the costs. And the last year was very bad, his partner going into dimentia and becoming very difficult. His family never came by, didn't provide any assistance or money in any way. Only Tom was there to care for him 24/7.
When the partner died his family stepped in and claimed the body, made the funeral arrangements. They barred Tom from the funeral. They even blamed my future partner for having infected their relative, though the opposite was true.
A few weeks after the funeral Tom came home from work and found a moving van in front of his house. The mother was there, with a court order, authorizing her to take the contents of the house, which she claimed were her late son's. The house was stripped of everything, regardless of who had bought what, and even some of Tom's clothes were seized. He was left with what would fit in a suitcase.
Years later Tom himself suddenly fell into dementia, literally overnight, when he & I had become partners. We hadn't drawn any legal documents, talking about it but always procrastinating.
I took him to the ER, and just blustered my way to stay with him. But after 3 days in the hospital the doctors told me they had to have some legal standing from me to continue to be there. The horror of being barred from my partner's bedside confronted me.
Luckily my best friend was the President of our State's Equality chapter. He put me in touch with a gay-friendly lawyer in the largest law firm in the State. She got me an emergency court order in 3 days, that would ordinarily take 3 months.
Now I was my partner's legal Guardian. I was able to stay by his side for the next 5 weeks, and make all decisions for him. The doctors actually had to request my permission to take him off life support, when all hope for him was gone. That was more than tough, if you've never gone through that. He died in my arms, at 1:30 in the morning. I pray none of you ever have to face that.
So OK, 3 years later I move in with my current partner. And the first thing I insist we do is draw up legal documents for us that will work in a Red State (Florida). And I don't mess around, I get a gay attorney who's the Deputy Mayor of Fort Lauderdale. I figure he's gonna draft bullet-proof documents for us.
And they have been. My partner & I have since been through all kinds of medical emergencies: heart attacks, stroke, cancer, major surgery. etc. And no one has ever denied either of us access to the other, nor the ability to make decisions when one of us was incapacitated.
I strongly recommend you consider drawing such documents for yourselves. Even if you are legally married in one State, DOMA says other States don't have to honor it. So draw these documents.
We have separate legal portfolios, that we carry in our luggage when we travel. Mine authorizes him, and his authorizes me. If some mishap occurs away from home these legal documents are at hand.
I will never face the horror of being barred from my partner in a hospital again.