Tag Archives: Gay Rights

On the table, 7/28

Today I got to volunteer for a couple of hours at the Boys and Girls Club.  It was really awesome!  Those girls totally schooled me on playing pool!  They also, sadly, were out of ping-pong balls, so I’m going to donate some this week.  If you find yourself taking old board games to Goodwill, take them to your local youth club instead.

I have lots of stuff for you this week!  Here it goes:

Read more:

  • Christie Thompson at Ms. Blog argues that the new ads not only condescendingly argue that “strong women douche” (while adding to the tradition that vaginas are dirty), but also essentialize women by using racial stereotypes.
  • At AdWeek, Stan Richards explains Summer’s Eve’s defense: “After listening to thousands of women say they want straight-talk and lighthearted communication on a historically-uncomfortable topic, Summer’s Eve gave us license to be bold, irreverent and celebratory across a multitude of mediums and to different audiences….” [Read the rest of Tim Nudd’s article here.] 
  • Nudd later reported that in light of bad press, the company decided to pull the online videos: “Richards PR executive Stacie Barnett told Adweek that the criticism had begun to overshadow the message and goal of the larger campaign—to educate women about their anatomy and break down taboos in talking about it—and that the online videos had to go….” [Read on]

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  • Slut Walks
Slut Walk London

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  • Raymond Kwan at York Univesity’s student paper Excalibur describes how a Toronto cop told a group of college students women could deter rape by not dressing like a slut.
  • Needless to say, women have responded in droves in the form of Slut Walks – a march to decalre women’s “constitutional right to a freedom of expression and a freedom of assembly,” according to Slut Walk Toronto.com.
  • The movement has even expanded transnationally – making a profound impact in India says Nikita Garia at The Wall Street Journal.
  • Some feminists, however, have responded questionably.  Rebecca Traister at the NY Times makes a great argument: “To object to these ugly characterizations is right and righteous. But to do so while dressed in what look like sexy stewardess Halloween costumes seems less like victory than capitulation (linguistic and sartorial) to what society already expects of its young women. Scantily clad marching seems weirdly blind to the race, class and body-image issues that usually (rightly) obsess young feminists and seems inhospitable to scads of women who, for various reasons, might not feel it logical or comfortable to express their revulsion at victim-blaming by donning bustiers. So while the mission of SlutWalks is crucial, the package is confusing and leaves young feminists open to the very kinds of attacks they are battling….” [Read on]

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a battery of tests and evaluations to go through before it will again allow gay men to donate blood. As midsummer shortages hit the nation’s blood supply, BBJ health care reporter Julie Donnelly writes that the process should proceed expeditiously.  [Read more here.]

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See the video here, or read the transcript below.

“Every empire in history has either failed or faltered, but for some reason – be it our arrogance, our hubris, or our nationalism disguised as patriotism – we turn a blind eye to the growing chasm between the have gots and the have nots. One percent of the population owning and controlling more wealth than ninety percent of Americans, is both dangerous and unsustainable.  At the heart of the problem is political cowardice….” [Read on]

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On the table, 7/19

Boy has it been a weekend!  Let’s get you caught up on some interesting discussions:

  • Our Headliner – WOMEN’S WORLD CUP!!!

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Gay Rights:

  • Julie Watson from The Huffington Post reports, “About 200 active-duty troops and veterans wearing T-shirts advertising their branch of service marched Saturday in San Diego’s gay pride parade with Ameri Firstscan flags and rainbow banners, marking what is believed to be the first time a military contingent has participated in such an event in the U.S…” [Read on]

  • David Siders from The Sacramento Bee reports, “Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring public schools to teach students about the contributions of gay and lesbian people, making California the first state to adopt such a measure…” [Read on]

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I was never really into Harry Potter, but for some of my friends and family members, this is the end of an era.  I, however, can’t wait to share some of these adventures and their heroines and profeminist heroes with my children.

  •  Ms. Magazine – “Hermione Granger and the Fight for Equal Rights” by Amy Borsuk

“Hermione offers much for a generation of girls to admire, beginning with her unmatched, encyclopedic knowledge of spells, potions and magical history, which is crucial to Harry’s survival throughout the series. She also holds her head high in the face of attacks on her appearance (she catches flak for her frizzy hair and her large teeth) and her stigmatized status as a Muggle-born witch (her peers taunt her with the slur “Mudblood”). Her loyalty and devotion to her best friends keep the golden trio–Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and her–together until the very end. It’s no wonder fans have serenaded her as the ‘Coolest Girl in the whole wide world’…” [Read on]

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  • “Banking While Black”

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Police Raid Shanghai Gay Bar and Detain More Than 60

Two things:

I visited Shanghai for a seminar last May. There you would see women clasped arm in arm, hand in hand, walking in public.  Any Chinese girl you made friends with wanted to take your hand.  My professor, Bill Mullen, who had lived in China for a while after college a few decades ago said that Chinese men used to do the same until the past couple of decades.

And China always seems to be walking a fine line between maintaining government control through police powers and pissing off the people.  This detainment, along with the detainment of the recent Jasmine Revolution protesters, seem like just the trick to shake things up.

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By ANDREW JACOBS at the NYT.  Published: April 4, 2011.  Read the story in its entirety here.

BEIJING—More than 60 patrons and employees at a gay bar in Shanghai were swept up in a police raid early Sunday morning and held for more 12 hours, according to the state media and several of those detained…

The raid, which coincides with one of the most concerted government crackdowns on dissent in a decade, sent a chill through China’s burgeoning gay community, which in recent years has grown self-confident despite intermittent harassment from the authorities. Gay activists say they cannot recall an incident in which so many people were taken into custody in one fell swoop.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1997 and officially removed from a list of mental disorders in 2001 although it remains largely taboo, and invisible.

During the past two years, organizers in Shanghai have tried to stage a low-key gay pride festival, although on both occasions the authorities have ordered the last-minute cancellation of several events — including social mixers, film screenings and a play performance — without explanation.

After bursting into the bar shortly after 1 a.m. on Sunday, the police allowed foreign patrons to leave but took almost everyone else to the Xiaodongmen police station, where they were photographed, questioned and held without food or water until the following afternoon, a number of those detained said….

Read the rest here.

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Good News for Same-Sex Nuptials and Unions

February 23, 2011 by Stephanie Hallett at Ms. Magazine

In a move eagerly anticipated by gay rights advocates since his election in 2008, President Obama has ordered the Justice Department to cease its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)–bringing federal marriage equality one step closer to reality.

The 1996 act defines marriage as a legal union between a man and woman and allows the federal government to deny recognition to same-sex marriages performed in states where the unions are legal. That means legally married same-sex couples are denied the federal benefits afforded to heterosexual married couples, such as Social Security death benefits and veteran benefits. In directing the Justice Department to stop defending DOMA, constitutional challenges to the law can be brought to court with a hope of succeeding.

University of Pennsylvania law professor Tobias Wolff told The New York Times:

The Justice Department and the president have taken the position on behalf of the United States government that discrimination against gay and lesbian people in all cases is presumptively unconstitutional.

It’s the first time the United States government has ever embraced that position, and if the courts agree it will help to eradicate all of the various forms of discrimination that gay and lesbian people suffer around the country.

In another victory for queer couples, same-sex civil unions will soon be allowed in Hawaii. The civil union bill was successful in the state senate today and the governor has vowed to sign it.

The state’s relationship with gay civil unions has been tumultuous; in July, a similar bill nearly passed but was vetoed by then-Gov. Linda Lingle. Today, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said, “For me, this bill represents equal rights for all the people of Hawaii.”

Though gay rights groups applaud Hawaii’s decision, they will continue to push for full marriage equality in that state.

Says Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry:

Loving and committed same-sex couples have the freedom to marry in 12 countries on four continents–as well as in five states and the District of Columbia here at home–and the sky has not fallen and the sun continues to rise every morning.

While a welcome step, civil union is no substitute for the full measure of respect, clarity, security, responsibilities and protection of marriage itself. States that have created civil union as a means of both giving and withholding–providing legal protections while withholding the freedom to marry and all its meaning–have found that civil union falls far short of marriage with all its tangible and intangible significance in our lives.

Clearly gay rights are taking precedence at the federal level. Last year, a repeal of DADT. This year, an end to DOMA. Upwards, toward an end to discrimination!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

While I love flowers (all ones, not just roses), I worry about all the gas and pesticides that go into making and sending them from Mexico to my door.

And I’ve never been one to straight up and eat a box of chocolates.  I like one piece of dark chocolate.  That is all.

And stuffed animals?  What am I 8?

Might I suggest you make your own edible body paints?

Oh yes.

At Budget101.com you can get a couple of different recipes that literally help you make some from scratch.

But instead of reading the directions I got the bright idea that I would buy vanilla pudding mix (which I found out later was bright yellow) and mix in various colorful fruits (because food dye is kind of bad for you).

I made a purple one out of blueberries, a yellow one with pineapple, a blandish yellowish pinkish one with strawberries, and a baby poop green one with a super food drink and a lime.

Now that I’ve done all this hard work, I’m going to give you some sound advice: the whiter the original thing, the better your colors.  Obvious right?

So, use marshmallow cream, or whipped cream, white frosting,white cake mix…all of which you can make yourself if you really want.  Then, those food dyes or fruit juices you add will really make them pop.

You can also make it together in your birthday suit and be sure to shower together afterward because you gonna be dirty!

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Now, on to the news:

Sara Haskins on online dating for all the single ladies!  Also see her hilarious video on how giving diamonds has become an imperative in heterosexual relationships.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Ms. Magazine offers several suggestions to make your Valentine’s Day more feminist, but this one is my favorite – become politically active!

How about joining a political campaign in honor of Valentine’s Day?  Saint Valentine was arrested for marrying couples against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II, so what better way to honor the day than to continue fighting for the right to marry?

Celebrate Freedom to Marry Week, which concludes on Valentine’s Day, by adding your voice to those supporting the freedom to marry or by asking Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. You can also join or organize a marriage license counter action on Valentine’s Day to protest Prop. 8.

Be part of a global movement to end violence against women and girls by attending a V-Day event–”The ‘V’ stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.”

 

You can even buy something from the V Day store if you really want. And yes, even men can support V Day too.

 

You can always send a Planned Parenthood Valentine’s Day e-card to your special someone. February 14 is also National Condom Day, so take part by being safe and using one.

 

And finally, didn’t think I could touch on race, gender, class, or ethnicity in a Valentine’s post?  Think again.

Lisa Wade from Sociological Images recently posted an assort of old Indian-themed Valentines, all which enforce stereotypes of natives as war-like, men as powerful, and women as passive.  All from Native Appropriations and the Vintage Valentine Museum.

 

“I’d never squaw’k if you’d be my Valentine” (1950s or ’60s)

 

 

“I want to be the CHIEF” (1940s or ’50s)

“I’m hunting for you, Valentine” (1941)

 

 

 

 

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Uganda: Gay Rights Activist Found Murdered

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Global Voices:

Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was found murdered, just weeks after winning a court case against a local newspaper that had called for Ugandans to “hang” homosexuals.

Kato was an advocacy officer for gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda, which published a press release reading:

David was brutally beaten to death in his home today, 26 January 2011, around 2pm. Across the entire country, straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Ugandans mourn the loss of David, a dear friend, colleague, teacher, family member, and human rights defender.

David has been receiving death threats since his face was put on the front page of Rolling Stone Magazine, which called for his death and the death of all homosexuals. David’s death comes directly after the Supreme Court of Uganda ruled that people must stop inciting violence against homosexuals and must respect the right to privacy and human dignity.

Uganda has been in the news for gay rights issues since October 2009, when Member of Parliament David Bahati tabled a bill that would provide for life imprisonment or the death penalty for not only homosexuals but also anyone found to be supporting or promoting gay rights.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The proposed bill has stirred up considerable anti-gay sentiments in Uganda, including the publication by local newspaper Rolling Stone [no relation to Rolling Stone Magazine] of a list of 100 suspected homosexuals and their addresses. Kato was on the list, and his face was on the paper’s front page.

Rolling Stone "100 Pictures of Uganda's Top Homos Leak: Hang Them"Photo via Gay Uganda.

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NPR:

Ugandan gay activist David Kato was murdered this Wednesday at his home in Uganda’s capital Kampala. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda. Kato gained international attention when the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone published a picture of him and several others next to the words “Hang Them.” In 2009, the Ugandan parliament was considering a bill that imposes the death penalty on people who are found to engage in homosexual activities. The bill was introduced after American evangelicals came to Kampala for a conference. Other Ugandan gay rights activists say Kato’s death resulted, in part, from sentiments that those evangelicals brought.

Statement by the President on the Killing of David Kato

January 28, 2011

I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of David Kato. In Uganda, David showed tremendous courage in speaking out against hate. He was a powerful advocate for fairness and freedom. The United States mourns his murder, and we recommit ourselves to David’s work.

At home and around the world, LGBT persons continue to be subjected to unconscionable bullying, discrimination, and hate. In the weeks preceding David Kato’s murder in Uganda, five members of the LGBT community in Honduras were also murdered. It is essential that the Governments of Uganda and Honduras investigate these killings and hold the perpetrators accountable.

LGBT rights are not special rights; they are human rights. My Administration will continue to strongly support human rights and assistance work on behalf of LGBT persons abroad. We do this because we recognize the threat faced by leaders like David Kato, and we share their commitment to advancing freedom, fairness, and equality for all.

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Elderly Gay Couple Forcibly Separated, Abused, Robbed By County Officials in California

Sonoma County, CA: Clay Greene and Harold Scull, an elderly couple, were partners of 20 years, when the County separated them, terminated their lease, and auctioned off all of their belongings. Harold died without Clay.

Photo taken from their Facebook support group.  Go there for information on how to help.

Text taken from a Slog article.

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Clay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place—wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.

One evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold’s care from the first moment. Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see Harold in the hospital. The county then ultimately went one step further by isolating the couple from each other,placing the men in separate nursing homes. Ignoring Clay’s significant role in Harold’s life, the county continued to treat Harold like he had no family and went to court seeking the power to make financial decisions on his behalf. Outrageously, the county represented to the judge that Clay was merely Harold’s “roommate.” The court denied their efforts, but did grant the county limited access to one of Harold’s bank accounts to pay for his care.

What happened next is even more chilling: without authority, without determining the value of Clay and Harold’s possessions accumulated over the course of their 20 years together or making any effort to determine which items belonged to whom, the county took everything Harold and Clay owned and auctioned off all of their belongings. Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will. The county workers then terminated Clay and Harold’s lease and surrendered the home they had shared for many years to the landlord.

Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county’s actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property.

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Pride! GLBT Pride Events Around the World

Spring is here and so are the Pride Parades!  Wouldn’t you like to hit up EVERY pride festival around the world?  I sure would.  Not only to increase awareness of the world’s ever-growing gay communities, but for the partay!  This is a list, compiled by Hostelworld, of the greatest worldwide pride events.  I’ve included some excerpts and pictures, but you can see the complete details here.  I also linked the actual websites for the events listed below.  You might want to check ’em out for fabulous pics and their different flavors.

1. Sao Paulo Pride 2010

VIII Gay Pride in São Paulo, Brazil, June 14, 2004

When? June 3rd – 7th

Founded in 1997, the Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade is seen as the biggest event of its type in the world. In 2006 it was officially deemed the world’s largest by the Guinness Book of Records who estimated it was attended by 2.5 million people. Each year the festival has a different flavor, with the theme for 2010’s festival being ‘Vote against homophobia: Defend Citizenship!’ The main event is of course the parade which takes place on Sunday June 6th, but other events to look forward to include the LGBT Cultural Fair on June 5th and ‘Gay Day’ on June 9th.  Here is a link to the parade’s website.

2. Dublin LGBTQ Pride Festival 2010

When? June 18th – 26th

Starting with the festival launch night on Friday June 18th and climaxing with the parade on Saturday 26th, Dublin’s LGBTQ Pride Festival aims to offer events for all tastes and age-groups.  This year’s festival boasts Irish céilís, sports days, community street festivals, remembrance ceremonies…and then some!  2010’s festival will also have a dedicated set of arts and cultural events including the 1st Pride Film Shorts competition and more.  Here is a link to the festival’s website.

3. Christopher Street Day, Berlin

BERLIN - JUNE 23: Participants of the Christopher Street Day (CSD) gay and lesbian pride parade celebrate on June 23, 2007 in the streets of Berlin, Germany. Organizers expect around 450,000 visitors for the parade. (Photo by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

When? June 19th

With approximately 500,000 people pouring on to the streets of Berlin for Christopher Street Day in 2009, the German capital’s annual LGBT festival is one of the biggest festivals of its type in Europe.  This is thanks to the fact that not many rival it when it comes to acceptance of the LGBT community.  And while it is undoubtedly the biggest LGBT event to take place in Berlin, if you can’t catch it you might be able to make the Lesbian and Gay City Festival which takes place on June 12th and 13th.  Here‘s a link to CSD.

4. Pride London Festival Fortnight

When? June 19th – July 3rd

While many ‘Pride’ festivals around the world last merely a weekend, in London they do things in style as this annual event lasts a very healthy two weeks. The highlight of the festival is an outlandish parade on July 3rd when events also take place in the world famous Trafalgar Square and Soho. Prior to that over 100 events will be staged over the two weeks in various locations around the English capital.  Here is a link to the festival’s website.

5. San Francisco Pride

Gay Pride Festival in San Francisco, June 26, 2005

When? June 26th and 27th

Said to be “one of the last remaining pride events that can truly be called a rite of passage”, San Francisco Pride 2010 is guaranteed to be a special one as it is the 40th anniversary of the event. The theme for this year’s event is “40 and Fabulous” and the event is mainly held in the Civic Center of downtown San Francisco. Here you’ll find over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and 19 stages and venues, making it America’s largest LGBT gathering.  Here‘s the SFP’s website.

6. PrideFest New York

When? June 27th

New York City’s Pridefest is its annual LGBT street fair and takes place on Hudson St. between Abingdon Sq. & West 14th St. It seeks to bring together local residents and families, community leaders, and area business owners to celebrate in the street. Additionally, the event attracts thousands of out-of-state and overseas visitors and volunteers. 2010’s event is the 18th annual PrideFest here in NYC.  Website for Pridefest.

7. Amsterdam Gay Pride

When? August 5th to 8th

Of all gay pride events to take place around the world, the Dutch capital’s festival has to be one of the most fun of the lot. Street parties take place all weekend long, while there are countless themed club nights too. But the highlight is unquestionably the festival’s parade which, unlike in other cities, takes place on Amsterdam’s celebrated canals rather than on the streets.  Link to the parade’s website.

8. Bangkok Pride Week

When? November (dates TBD)

The Thai capital’s Silom Soi district is the setting for most of the events of Bangkok Pride Week, one of the largest LGBT events to take place in Asia. Everything from art to film are showcased, while there are many sporting events held throughout the week. Other highlights include the ‘Pride in the Park’ which is held in Lumpini Park and the annual ‘Utopia Awards’ which honour gay and lesbian pioneers in South East Asia.  Website for Pride Week here.

9. Cape Town Pride

Capetown Pride Parade 2009

When? February-March 2011

Launched annually with a totally fabulous cocktail party, South Africa’s premier LGBT festival was founded in 1994, coinciding with the implementation of the country’s pivotal ‘freedom of sexual orientation’ clause. Attracting thousands of visitors to the city every year, a host of events take place throughout the festival including fashion shows, sports events, film showcases and more.  Website for CTP here.

10. Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras

When? February-March 2011

As it is the gay capital of the Southern Hemisphere, it will come as no surprise to learn that the largest LGBT festival to take place in that half of the world is in Sydney. Famous the world over, among the most popular events over the 19 days include ‘Fair Day’ which is held in Victoria Park (it attracted 70,000 people in 2010!), ‘Mardi Gras Dinner at the Zoo’ which is a unique evening of culinary and zoological exploration in Sydney’s famed Taronga Zoo, and the extremely famous parade which ends the event.  Link to the parade here.

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Obama Widens Medical Rights for Same-Sex Partners

Some utterly fantastic news today, on a day with some tragic news.

Love wins! Taken at a rally against Prop 8 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Brooke Lovell.

The adorable young girl shown above with her lesbian godmothers. Photo by Brooke Lovell.

This article from the New York Times, April 15, 2010, was written by Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

WASHINGTON – President Obama on Thursday ordered his health secretary to issue new rules aimed at granting hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners, and making it easier for gays and lesbians to make medical decisions on behalf of their partners.

The White House announced the rule changes in a memorandum released Thursday night. In it, the president said the new rules will affect any hospital that participates in Medicare or Medicaid, the government programs to cover the elderly and the poor.

“Every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindness and caring of a loved one at their sides,” Mr. Obama said in the memorandum, adding that the rules could also help widows and widowers who rely on friends and members of religious orders who care for each other. But he says gays and lesbians are “uniquely affected” because they are often barred from visiting partners with whom they have spent decades.

Several states have tried to put an end to discrimination against same-sex couples, and Mr. Obama said he intended to build on those efforts. He said the new rules will make clear that designated visitors should enjoy visiting privileges that are no more restrictive than those enjoyed by immediate family members.

During his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama said he would fight for the rights of gays and lesbians, but he has been under pressure since the beginning of his presidency to be a stronger advocate for their issues.
Many gays and lesbians grew disenchanted with what they viewed as his foot-dragging on reversing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the policy that bars gays from serving openly in the military. The president said in his State of the Union address this year that he intended to move to overturn the policy, and his administration has been taking steps to do so.

Richard Socarides, who advised President Bill Clinton on gay rights issues, said that while the memorandum on its own does not grant any new rights, it “does draw attention to the very real and tragic situations many gays and lesbians face when a partner is hospitalized.”

Ordering the Department of Health and Human Services to find a better way to handle such situations, Mr. Socarides said, is “the kind of thing the gay community was hoping Obama would do right after he was inaugurated.”

The memorandum is intended to “help ensure that patients will be able to face difficult times in hospitals with compassion, dignity and respect,” a White House spokesman, Shin Inouye, said Thursday night.

“By taking these steps, we can better protect the interests and needs of patients that are gay or lesbian, widows and widowers with no children, members of religious orders, or others for whom their loved ones are not always immediate relatives. Because all Americans should be able to have loved ones there for them in their time of need.”

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