May 26, 2009, Matthew Good
You’ve just arrived home. The kids, having gotten home from school a few hours earlier, are going about their usual business. You walk into the kitchen and throw your briefcase on the counter, grabbing a glass out of the cupboard. As you walk towards the fridge to get some orange juice the phone rings, diverting you.
You pick it up. You stand there in stunned silence. The voice on the other end of the line informs you that your wife has been involved in a serious car accident.
You immediately hang up and dial your neighbour. You ask them to watch the kids while you go to the hospital, telling them that you’ll inform the kids of the situation once you know more. Your neighbour, who you’ve know for years, is aghast, but assures you that they’ll drop everything and come over.
The glass that you had grabbed remains empty on the counter, you grab your keys, get in your car, and drive like a madman.
On the way to the hospital your whole life flashes in front of your eyes – the seventeen years of marriage, the night you first kissed her, the look on her face when you asked her to marry you, the tears that filled the corners of her eyes as you were pronounced man and wife. The hard times are forgotten, the good times surging to the forefront of your memory - the birth of your children, the vacations, the laughter, those silent moments when you stared at each other in bed at night contented and at ease with yourselves.
You get to the hospital, park in a two-away zone, run into emergency, find the desk, ask where she is, and…
…you can’t see her.
Imagine that. Because that is the reality faced by many gay and lesbian couples in that exact situation. They are not considered immediate family, even if they have been together for decades. At that desk, with the one person that means more to them than anything possibly facing death, they are stopped.
I’ve read and heard a great deal about God in my life. If you’re of the opinion that God’s will is represented at that desk when a gay or lesbian person is stopped, then what is there to say other than God help you.
It's ridiculous to me that you can't choose who can see you in an emergency. Can we have the equivalent of Medic Alert bracelets that designates "next of kin"? I mean, basically, your homosexual partner can't visit you, but your estranged parents could. Isn't it time that we eliminated archaic hospital visitation rules to better reflect the reality of contemporary families?