Archive | September 30, 2009

Lest the battle lines and magnitude be not clearly drawn

lpfamily[Image at right: the Langbehn-Pond family, from Janice Langbehn’s Twitter page. Lisa at left, Janice at right.]

I had a Banned Books Week / LGBT families in children’s lit post all queued up and ready for its final powdering, but have to set it aside after reading on Tuesday evening that the Langbehn v. Jackson Memorial Hospital case was dismissed yesterday by its Florida judge.

Janice Langbehn, for those who can’t place where you heard her name (if not from here, in February and August of last year), is the woman whose partner of 18 years, Lisa Pond, suffered an aneurism just as they were about to embark on an R Family vacation cruise with their three children. They were in Miami. The hospital barred all of Lisa’s family from seeing her, because, in the words of the hospital social worker, they were in “an anti-gay state.” (Family? What family?)  Janice tells the whole story here, on the blog she started for their family.

The more you read about their life together — the 25 children they fostered over the years, the four they adopted, Lisa’s Girl Scout troop — and the more you read about the lengths Janice went to to try to gain access to Lisa for herself and their children — the more vivid and the more unthinkable their inhumane treatment becomes.  Lambda Legal argued her case against the hospital; their page on the case is here.  Janice posted the judge’s motion to dismiss the case here. I — and any other LD readers as ignorant in the minutia of the law as I — welcome anyone’s armchair analysis / translation of its import.  Lambda and the family have until October 16 to take the next step, whatever that may be.

Two more things:

(1) Look at Lambda Legal’s Tools for Protecting Your Health Care Wishes, but with this caveat: Janice and Lisa had medical power of attorney for one another, and Janice had them faxed to the hospital in one of her many attempts to do everything possible to have their family status recognized by the hospital staff.  It was the bigotry and inhumanity of the hospital staff that kept them apart, when other family members, including small children, were welcomed to visit other patients in same critical care area there. (Nolo Press explains more about Powers of Attorney for Health Care here.) And,

(2) the Langbehn-Pond family lives in Washington state. Right now people in Washington are fighting tooth and nail to preserve their strong domestic partnership law. Referendum 71 needs to pass for it to stay on the books, and for all Washington families to be treated fairly, especially in times of crisis, and  for all families to be provided the same protections under the law. So if you haven’t done what you can to support their battle there, please do. For the Langbehn-Pond family, if for no one else.

A visual to leave you with: NGLTF keeps and regularly updates a map of all the states with laws on the books that, in one way or another, throw barriers between us and safe, proper, ethical, full legal recognition.  And sometimes throw barriers between us and our very own families. A sobering note: only the clear white states have no prohibitions on same-sex partnerships.

Click on the image to see it at its full-page resolution:

NGLTF.statelawsagainst.6.09

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