Our Gay Rights in Florida Again Under Attack; We Can Be Denied Being at Out Partner's Hospital Bedside, Despite Prior Arrangements

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    Apr 15, 2010 11:57 PM GMT
    Today we just got a letter from our attorney, to alert us to a Florida court decision that affects us. The mutual Health Care Surrogate documents my partner & I executed have been ruled invalid by a Republican state judge.

    This ruling says our mutual health care surrogate arrangement we had is invalid, because we are neither related by blood, nor by legal marriage. Apparently in Florida we cannot designate the person we wish to be our health care surrogate, unless that person is recognized by a legal marriage union, which is denied to gays in Florida, or is a blood relation.

    We will be meeting with our attorney soon, to learn more about this. His letter suggests we may be able to modify our health care surrogate documents in a way that will retain our right for bedside visitation. The Republican judge has ruled that gays have no right to be at the hospital bedside of their partners, despite having executed these documents, as we have. I will keep you all informed about this.
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    Apr 16, 2010 12:55 AM GMT
    Where's that judge at? Local? I'll buzz his courthouse during his lunch break with a banner that makes him feel like the scum of the earth.

    Srsly icon_wink.gif

    fly-it-off-my-ass.jpg

    Edit: And any media exposure is welcome and encouraged. Just sayin'.
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    Apr 16, 2010 1:02 AM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidToday we just got a letter from our attorney, to alert us to a Florida court decision that affects us. The mutual Health Care Surrogate documents my partner & I executed have been ruled invalid by a Republican state judge.

    This ruling says our mutual health care surrogate arrangement we had is invalid, because we are neither related by blood, nor by legal marriage. Apparently in Florida we cannot designate the person we wish to be our health care surrogate, unless that person is recognized by a legal marriage union, which is denied to gays in Florida, or is a blood relation.

    We will be meeting with our attorney soon, to learn more about this. His letter suggests we may be able to modify our health care surrogate documents in a way that will retain our right for bedside visitation. The Republican judge has ruled that gays have no right to be at the hospital bedside of their partners, despite having executed these documents, as we have. I will keep you all informed about this.


    I am not quite sure how this will affect you, but I hope this will solve your problem: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/15/AR2010041505502.html
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    Apr 16, 2010 3:34 AM GMT
    north_runner saidI am not quite sure how this will affect you, but I hope this will solve your problem: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/15/AR2010041505502.html

    I've commented to 2 threads that also reported this coincidental story, that happened after our attorney contacted us. Not sure how it will affect what our attorney just emailed us. It may make the Florida court action moot. I hope to learn more from his office tomorrow (Friday). Thanks for your heads-up.
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    Apr 16, 2010 4:45 AM GMT
    Sorry to hear about this happening to you! I hope you guys can find a solution!
  • Sk8Tex

    Posts: 738

    Apr 16, 2010 4:55 AM GMT
    I would like to see someone try to stop me from visiting my partner in the hospital. They would rue the day that we ever crossed paths. icon_mad.gif
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    Apr 16, 2010 4:59 AM GMT
    i was just thinking about how psycho-angry I'd be if I had a partner and was denied access to visit him at the hospital. There'd be hellfire to pay.
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14389

    Apr 16, 2010 9:09 PM GMT
    What else is new, Florida is a red, republican state that just went blue temporarily during the 2008 presidential election and now like Virginia, it is reverting back to its red republican status. Trying to deny gays equal protection and certain rights, this is something that Florida must have taken out of Virginia's political playbook.
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    Apr 16, 2010 9:27 PM GMT
    With Obama's new directive, things will change, hopefully quickly.
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    Apr 17, 2010 11:35 AM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidToday we just got a letter from our attorney, to alert us to a Florida court decision that affects us. The mutual Health Care Surrogate documents my partner & I executed have been ruled invalid by a Republican state judge.

    This ruling says our mutual health care surrogate arrangement we had is invalid, because we are neither related by blood, nor by legal marriage. Apparently in Florida we cannot designate the person we wish to be our health care surrogate, unless that person is recognized by a legal marriage union, which is denied to gays in Florida, or is a blood relation.

    We will be meeting with our attorney soon, to learn more about this. His letter suggests we may be able to modify our health care surrogate documents in a way that will retain our right for bedside visitation. The Republican judge has ruled that gays have no right to be at the hospital bedside of their partners, despite having executed these documents, as we have. I will keep you all informed about this.


    That is really wierd. I've never heard of this before. Here anyone you put on your visitation list is allowed to visit. They do not have to be blood relatives. You can even put friends on your visitation list.
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    Apr 17, 2010 11:41 AM GMT
    RPMSoccer saidi was just thinking about how psycho-angry I'd be if I had a partner and was denied access to visit him at the hospital. There'd be hellfire to pay.


    Here, if your partner puts you on his visitation list, you are allowed to visit him. But, if he doesn't put you on his list, then you can't. I think this is a good policy to have because this way the patient decides who is permitted to visit him.
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    Apr 17, 2010 12:13 PM GMT
    Land of the free and home of the brave.

    How far the reality is from the rhetoric.
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    Apr 17, 2010 12:34 PM GMT
    You've got money, take his ass all the way to the supreme court
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    Apr 17, 2010 1:04 PM GMT
    hardonguy saidThat is really wierd. I've never heard of this before. Here anyone you put on your visitation list is allowed to visit. They do not have to be blood relatives. You can even put friends on your visitation list.

    I sent an email to my attorney yesterday (Friday) asking for further clarification, especially in light in President's Obama's announcement in Miami that he was ordering HHS to develop rules to correct this problem my attorney had just identified for us. I haven't received a response yet, but will update here when I do.

    I will quote from his letter below. It appears to refer to the very same case which the President mentioned, as an abuse that needed his correction. It involved a lesbian couple visiting Florida with their children who had mutual Health Care Surrogate documents, that a hospital refused to honor when one partner suffered a sudden brain aneurysm and died.

    A suit was filed, but last year a Florida court rejected the claim against the hospital, ruling the Health Care Surrogate document did not apply in the case of these 2 lesbians. I don't know why it has taken my attorney several months to recognize the weakness in the Health Care Surrogate documents he drew for my partner & me, but this letter is the result (extract):

    "In a case where an unrelated party was given the authority to act as Health Care Surrogate by way of a properly executed document, that party was denied access to her partner's medical treatment room until a family member was there to accompany her. Language in the court's decision suggests that because the surrogate document did not state with specificity the visitation rights of the Surrogate, that the hospital had the right to deny the Surrogate access that a family member might otherwise have been permitted. [Emphasis added]

    ...At the time your [own] Surrogate document was originally signed, the right of visitation by a Health Care Surrogate was not in question. In fact, we believe that the recent [Florida] court decision is a wrongful interpretation of the law. Nevertheless, we recommend that you consider the modification to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled... (etc)"


    If this is the same incident and subsequent court case to which Obama refers, the gay community here remembers them well, and the court that denied the suit. I didn't realize it might impact my partner & me, however, assuming it had something to do with the rejected documents originating in another state. As an aside, our local Florida attorney is gay himself.
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    Apr 17, 2010 1:21 PM GMT
    Wow.... the more I read, Vespa, the more heart-wrenching I find it. I'll keep you guys in my thoughts and wish for the best possible outcome.
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    Apr 17, 2010 1:41 PM GMT
    SAHEM62896 saidWow.... the more I read, Vespa, the more heart-wrenching I find it. I'll keep you guys in my thoughts and wish for the best possible outcome.

    Thanks much, but when you say "you guys" please include all of us GLBT here in Florida. My partner & I are pretty careful & thorough about these legal things, and if there's a way around this we'll find it. I'm more concerned about gay couples who haven't yet protected themselves legally as well as we have, despite this legal setback.

    Still, President Obama's order, announced the day after I started this thread, hopefully may effectively reverse the Florida court's decision against gay visitation rights. Here's the email I sent our attorney yesterday (some items X'ed out for privacy):

    (XXXX): (XXXX) shared with me your letter to him dated April 5, 2010, re: Health Care Surrogate (I did not receive my own copy, BTW). Does President Obama's order to HHS of April 16, 2010 on this same subject change your recommendation to modify the existing Health Care Surrogate document for (XXXX), and I presume my own as well?

    Please advise us if we should proceed with the document modification, or wait now until the new rules being developed at HHS have been promulgated.

    Thanks. Bob (XXXX)
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    Apr 21, 2010 3:07 AM GMT
    Shame on themicon_mad.gif


    http://www.care2.com/causes/civil-rights/blog/elderly-gay-couple-separated-by-sonoma-county-officials-violating-couples-express-wishes/
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    Apr 21, 2010 3:10 AM GMT
    sorry to hear that, is quite sad how even to this day discrimination is alive & well....*sigh* i just hope the future will be somewhat optimstic for us... : (
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    Apr 22, 2010 3:06 PM GMT
    OK, I promised a follow-up: I went into our attorney's office yesterday (Wed), to drop off some brochures for the HIV/IDS charity bicycle ride with which we're involved. He was going into a conference, so I only saw him for a moment, but he said we should still redraw our Florida Health Care Surrogate documents, pending the results of HHS changes ordered by President Obama, likely some months away.

    We have scheduled that for April 30th. I would recommend any gay couples in Florida to arrange a similar legal review with their attorney, in light of the Florida court decision that redefined Health Care Surrogate agreements between non-family individuals, denying sick-bed access. I will be glad to post here the verbiage our attorney uses, designed to avoid the court ruling against gay couples.

    Even after HHS issues its new guidelines in several months, it is conceivable that red-state Florida Republican judges will continue to try to deny sick-bed access to gay couples. We want to make sure we have the maximum protections in place to counter these Republican assaults against the hospital visitation rights of gay couples.

    I will note that Republican Members of Congress have already gone on record as opposing President Obama's order to HHS, claiming that such a policy undermines traditional marriage. This battle isn't over yet, and there are many Republican judges ready to rule against us having access to the bed-side of our gay partner.
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    Apr 22, 2010 3:11 PM GMT
    I have to wonder why anyone would want to make a law or rule that gays CANNOT visit their partners at the hospital .. I have to think that it is just another way of conservatives taking a swipe at gays and saying "take that!"
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    Apr 22, 2010 3:16 PM GMT
    ActiveAndFit saidI have to wonder why anyone would want to make a law or rule that gays CANNOT visit their partners at the hospital .. I have to think that it is just another way of conservatives taking a swipe at gays and saying "take that!"

    Well of course that's what it is. Republicans and Conservatives wanting to hurt gays personally, not just oppose us for philosophical or political reasons. They want to PUNISH & HURT us for who we are, and outlaw us, that much is clear.

    What truly puzzles me are the RJ members here who call themselves Republicans & Conservatives, and who argue their cause. These right-wing people want to annihilate us, and yet members here support them? That requires some explanation, I think.
  • coolarmydude

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    Apr 22, 2010 4:37 PM GMT
    On the one hand, conservatives want smaller government, but on the other hand, they like to show how big their hands are. Fuck these bastards.

    I believe you and your partner will win, and ultimately the whole community, but this injustice needs to be exposed on a national level.


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    Apr 22, 2010 4:41 PM GMT
    Do you guy's have medical power of attorney?
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    Apr 22, 2010 4:46 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    Red_Vespa said....Republicans and Conservatives wanting to hurt gays personally, not just oppose us for philosophical or political reasons. They want to PUNISH & HURT us for who we are, and outlaw us, that much is clear.

    These right-wing people want to annihilate us...

    Next stop... the death camps. icon_rolleyes.gif

    Read what Michele Bachmann from Minnesota has proposed. She wants gays in camps. Ya know, if you endorse these people, you must go along with what they propose. And what do YOU Propose?
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    Apr 22, 2010 4:59 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    coolarmydude saidOn the one hand, conservatives want smaller government, but on the other hand, they like to show how big their hands are. Fuck these bastards.

    On the one hand, the Democrats say that a woman has the "right to choose" and it's "her body" and government should not interfere.

    But on the other hand, the Democrats say men and women do not have a right to choose the level of healthcare they wish their body to receive. The government will punish those who do not purchase health insurance.


    It's extremely cold and inhuman of you to attempt to make one of your pathetic political points on a thread about visiting one's partner. How healthcare is funded is absolutely irrelevant to whether same-sex couples should have visitation rights. Perhaps you would confine your uncivil ranting to threads where they are at least on-topic.