STATEWIDE — Effective Jan. 18, hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid across the U.S. can no longer deny LGBT partners equal access to their family members.

In a move to ensure the rights of LGBT patients, President Barak Obama issued a statement on April 15, 2010, saying “There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital. In these hours of need and moments of pain and anxiety, all of us would hope to have a hand to hold, a shoulder on which to lean — a loved one to be there for us, as we would be there for them.” His intention was to make sure that hospitals not deny visitation privileges based on factors including sexual orientation or gender identity, reported the Office of Public Engagement.

Deputy Director Brian Bond said, “This policy impacts millions of LGBT Americans and their families. The President saw an injustice and felt very strongly about correcting this and has spoken about it often over the years.”

News 14 in Greensboro reported that Addison Ore, former Equality North Carolina (ENC) board member, said “Sometimes when you’re doing this advocacy work you sort of feel like you’re in the desert and no ones paying attention, no one’s listening. So to have that type of endorsement, it’s so validating and it also encourages us to do more and keep on, even though some of our struggles are more difficult.” ENC was at the forefront in lobbying for patient rights in North Carolina in 2008. : :

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988,...