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White House Honors Lesbian Widow Denied Hospital Visitation

Jim Burroway

October 12th, 2011

Janice Langbehn holding a photo of Lisa Pond

The White House has announced (no link yet) thirteen winners of the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor. Included among the thirteen honorees is Janice Langbehn, who was denied access to her partner, Lisa Pond, as she lay dying in a Florida Hospital in 2007.  The White House statement honoring Janice reads:

Janice Langbehn, Lacey, WA
While on vacation with her family in February 2007, Janice Langbehn’s partner, Lisa Pond, suddenly fell ill and was rushed to the hospital.  Langbehn was refused access to her partner, who had experienced a brain aneurysm and later died alone.  With the help of Lambda Legal and GLAAD, she filed a federal lawsuit and worked to get her story out to the nation. Janice’s story received attention from President Obama, who personally apologized to her for the way she and her family was treated.  He went on to revise hospital visitation rights for gay and lesbian couples, which went into effect this past January for any hospitals receiving federal Medicare or Medicaid funds. Langbehn receives the Citizens Medal for her efforts to ensure all Americans are treated equally.

In 2008, Janice sued Jackson Memorial Hospital, which is affiliated with the University of Miami, but a Federal judge dismissed the case. In 2010, the Obama Administration, citing this case, issued new regulations requiring hospitals to honor same-sex couples’ rights to visitation and medical decisions.



Regan DuCasse
October 12th, 2011 | LINK

I wonder how their children are doing after the loss of their mother. I lost both of my parents by the age of 15. My mother to a cerebral aneurysm too.
It’s always so hard, but especially when a state like FL prefers spite over acknowledging that a person loves their family and knows them better than anyone.

I still can’t get my head around a custody case in FL, against a lesbian where a father, a convicted murderer of his first wife, sued for custody of a daughter he never knew, only because the mother was living in a committed relationship with another woman.
The ONLY other parent this child had.

And that father won.
First of all, explain to me how a man can even be released from prison after only seven years for killing a woman, then he’s given FULL custody of a young female he doesn’t even know?

How does the state figure he’s a better parent in THAT scary scenario?!

Priya Lynn
October 12th, 2011 | LINK

Regan, I think your story demonstrates how incredibly illogical and irrational many people are when it comes to LGBTs. What should have been done is obvious to any sane person, but hatred of LGBTs makes many people crazy.

Paul Douglas
October 13th, 2011 | LINK

Well it was Florida, you know.

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