Mark Greene looks at Governor Walker of Wisconsin’s attempts last year to prevent gay couples from having hospital visitation rights.
Governor Walker of Wisconsin has a pattern of pandering to his base. In May of 2011, he decided he was going to try and block same sex couples visitation rights in hospitals. He and people like him can attempt this sort of thing because there is no federal law guaranteeing same sex marriage. And so, a complex and confusing hodgepodge of rules and regulations regarding hospital visitation rights for same sex couples is playing out in every state of the union.
So, I’d like to take a moment and talk about how an initiative like Governor Walker’s would have played out in the real world.
I have two good friends, Jim and TJ. They’re men. They’re married. I know them from my son’s elementary school. They have two great kids. We have pancakes at their house. We talk about how damn tired we are while our kids run circles around us. We laugh about all the stuff we didn’t expect when deciding to have kids. These guys get it. They get family.
Now, let’s take the Governor Walker’s effort last year as seen on OutsidetheBeltWay.com: ”Gov. Scott Walker believes a new law that gives gay couples hospital visitation rights violates the state constitution and has asked a judge to allow the state to stop defending it.”
To put it simply, he wanted to block hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples.
So now, I’m imagining a gay couple like Jim and TJ, who have done the hard work of parenting and caring for two children for six long wonderful years. A couple who has held it all together in the face of go go go days and sleepless nights, working to keep their family safe and happy.
Then, (god forbid) one of them gets hurt, say in a bad car crash in a state that doesn’t support same sex partner hospital visitation rights. (What the hell does that even mean? And why are we struggling to define this separate-but-equal bullshit?) Anyway, so one is in the hospital. What do you have then? You have their two children standing alone in the hospital room with their unconscious father, because their “other father” isn’t allowed to enter the room.
A federal law guaranteeing same sex marriage isn’t just about couples. Its about entire families.
Photo courtesy of Linda Cronin