Injustice for Florida Lesbian and Family

I’m spitting nails over this one:

A U.S. District Court in Florida rejected a lawsuit by a lesbian mom who had been kept apart from her partner who lay dying in a Florida hospital. The couple’s three children were kept from her as well.

In February 2007, Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond boarded an R Family cruise, looking forward to vacation with their children. Just before the boat left, however, Pond collapsed unexpectedly. She was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Janice and the children arrived close behind.

Lambda Legal explains:



Almost immediately they encountered prejudice and apathy. The hospital refused to accept information from Janice about Lisa’s medical history. Janice was informed that she was in an antigay city and state, and she could expect to receive no information or acknowledgment as family. A doctor finally spoke with Janice telling her that there was no chance of recovery.

Other than one five minute visit, which was orchestrated by a Catholic priest at Janice’s request to perform last rites, and despite the doctor’s acknowledgement that no medical reason existed to prevent visitation, neither Janice nor her children were allowed to see Lisa until nearly eight hours after their arrival. Soon after Lisa’s death, Janice tried to get her death certificate in order to get life insurance and Social Security benefits for their children. She was denied both by the State of Florida and the Dade County Medical Examiner.

Tragic, you may say, but shouldn’t they have had documents giving each other medical power of attorney? They did.

The New York Times in May published a long account of their story. It’s worth a re-read.

Lambda Legal, who was pursuing the case on behalf of Langbehn, the Estate of Lisa Pond and their three children, has until October 16 to review the ruling with the family and consider all legal options.

Today’s court decision is shameful. I hope it is appealed. What was it President Obama said just yesterday?

Whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian, families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things…. On this Family Day, we rededicate ourselves to ensuring that every American family has the chance to build a better, healthier future for themselves and their children.

Yeah. Let’s do something about that.

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