Thursday, April 15, 2010

Another Step Towards Equality

A guest post from Rosalie Ray '10

In a memo today to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama mandated that hospitals allow visitation rights to same-sex partners and families, perhaps his biggest statement of support for the gay rights movement yet. The memo also stated that same-sex couples will be allowed to share medical powers of attorney. Obama’s memo will apply to any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding, a vast majority of the nation’s hospitals

Entirely coincidentally, today was also the day of Queer Care, a forum at Smith about queer health from the perspective of doctors and patients. The subject of ensuring visitation rights and medical powers of attorney was a major topic at the panel. Patricia Robinson, MD advised students to draft powers of attorney and carry them on their person at all times. With the new ruling, those power of attorney must be followed, whereas in the past hospitals have refused to honor them.

Dr. Robinson shared a particularly heart-wrenching example of this at the forum. In February 2007, a lesbian couple and three of their four children were boarding a cruise ship in Jacksonville, Florida when one of the couple suffered a major stroke. She was rushed to the hospital and the rest of her family disembarked to follow her to hospital. When they arrived, they were denied entry, and were explicitly told that they were in “an anti-gay city and state.” The hospital did not acknowledge the power of attorney faxed to the hospital. The woman ended up dying the next day, and the partner was only admitted for the last rights ceremony, five minutes before her partner’s passing.

These scenarios have been only too common across the country. The president’s memo, which also covers the rights of widows and widowers to receive visits from close friends, and members of certain religious orders to grant powers of attorney to non-relatives, will end such indignities. It is the latest in a number of advances for the gay community during President Obama’s term, though there is still more to fight for.

The Washington Post article on the topic quotes an unnamed activist: “The General Accounting Office has identified 1,138 instances in federal law where marriage is important. We've knocked off one of them.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Interview with Kate Moore

The Smith Dems could not be more excited to host the College Democrats of Massachusetts Convention this weekend! And Team Kate is particularly excited for our very own Kate Moore to be running for CDM President- Check out her website:

or her interview in the Sophian:

An interview with Kate Moore, CDM presidential nominee

Alita Edelman

Issue date: 4/8/10 Section: Features

Alita: So Kate, you're running for President of CDM. Tell us a little bit about CDM.

Kate: CDM is the College Democrats of Massachusetts; the official college outreach wing of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. We are chartered under College Democrats of America and the Democratic National Committee. CDM advocates for pro-student policies and legislation in Massachusetts. We are committed to electing strong, progressive Democrats in the state. Today, CDM works with all of the College Dems chapters in the state to organize students to volunteer on campaigns. This year I have worked closely with Organizing for America Massachusetts on health care programming and have helped chapters connect with representatives from statewide and out-of-state campaigns. Most recently, I was appointed co-chair of the annual CDM Convention, which is taking place the weekend of April 9-11 at Smith.

A: Fabulous. When did you first realize your political aspirations?

K: I started volunteering on the Hillary for President campaign during the spring of my junior year of high school. After knocking on doors in New Hampshire on the weekends, I applied to intern on the campaign and spent my summer in Nashua, N.H. I worked with the most amazing group of people, and once I got over my initial fear of phone banking, I was hooked! I have been very active in politics ever since.

A: Who's the coolest person you've met during your long and illustrious political career?

K: Terry McAuliffe. Even though he was chairman, Terry was invited with the ground rule that he was not allowed to talk about Hillary's campaign, since it was still before the N.H. primary and all of the campaigns had paid a lot of money for tables at the event. In typical Terry McAuliffe fashion, Terry spent his entire speech telling personal stories about Hillary and talking about why she would make the best president. The Hillsborough County Dems were furious, but I was so impressed by Terry's guts - he has no reservations about speaking his mind. Plus he's hilarious, a great speaker and so down to earth.

A: Which issue on the political table speaks to you most right now and why?

K: Definitely education. The state of America's public schools right now is troubling. Besides my personal interest in education policy, I think improving our schools is the answer to solving so many of our nation's problems right now and is the only way we will have a chance of continuing to compete in the global economy in the future.

A: Those who know you consider you something of a rock star. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

K: Well, hopefully in 10 years I will have put in my time as a campaign nomad, will have won at least another N.H. primary (well not me personally, but the candidate I will work for), and will be settled into life in D.C. or in Boston. I'm not sure what I will be doing, but I am sure that I will be pursuing something that is fulfilling and that I'm passionate about!

A: If you were a character on The West Wing, who would you be?

K: I'm very idealistic and I share Sam's unwavering love for the American political process.

A: Hobbes or Locke?

K: Locke. As I said, I am very idealistic, and I have trouble believing that human nature is inherently evil. Plus, I love the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Locke's belief that all people are equal.