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Court dismisses suit by lesbian who couldn’t see dying partner at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

janice00 olympian dade SB A federal court in Miami has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Washington state lesbian who was not allowed to visit her dying partner at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

"The hospital took the position that we thought was pretty extreme -- that it has no duty, no legal obligation, to allow visitors [of any sort] in the hospital. The court agreed," said Beth Littrell, a staff attorney for Lambda Legal, a national gay-rights group representing Janice Langbehn, whose partner of 17 years died at Jackson in 2007.

Langbehn's partner, Lisa Pond, suffered a fatal brain aneurysm on Feb. 18, 2007, shortly before they were to sail with their three children on a Caribbean cruise for gay families.

At Jackson, Langbehn said, a social worker would not let her visit Pond because Florida is "an anti-gay state." Pond, 39, died the next day.

From the beginning, Jackson said Langbehn was not discriminated against and defended social worker Garnett Frederick, who denied making the comment.

Langbehn, with the help of Lambda Legal, sued the hospital. The case, which received publicity around the country, was thrown out Tuesday.

"We're obviously devastated and disappointed in this decision," Littrell said. "It highlights how vulnerable same-sex couples and their families are."

The court dismissed the case without deciding whether Langbehn had been discriminated against, Littrell said.

Jackson on Tuesday again denied that gay patients and their families are treated differently.

"We have always believed and known that the staff at Jackson treats everyone equally, and that their main concern is the well-being of the patients in their care," Jackson spokeswoman Jennifer Piedra said in a news release. "At Jackson Health System, we believe in a culture of inclusion. For more than 90 years, the institution has taken great pride in serving everyone who enters its doors, regardless of race, creed, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. We also employ a very diverse workforce, one that mirrors the community we serve."

Added Piedra: "Jackson will continue to work with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community to ensure that everyone knows they are welcome at all of our facilities, where they will receive the highest quality of medical care."

Janice Langbehn photo by The Olympian


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"... a lesson learned for those of us in gay relationships is to get the legal paperwork to protect yourself and your loved ones from such things. Medical Proxy, powers of attorney, trustee appointments, will etc, etc,,,"

Gary - These are important, but Jackson Memorial went so far as to ignore Lisa's power of attorney naming Janice (http://www.news4jax.com/news/16719238/detail.html).

This is the problem when people try to argue that "marriage-like" rights can easily be secured through contract. Without full and equal marriage rights, gay relationships are always subject to second class treatment.

That poor woman died with NO ONE by her side! How sad! Her partner should have been allowed in just so she'd have a friendly face with her at the end--even if they had just been friends it should have been allowed, just out of basic humanity for the dying woman. Certainly the woman who had been her family member for all those years should have been allowed! She should have told the social worker she was the woman's sister--I bet she would have gotten in then. What a shame.

It's time America.

And I extend my condolences to the surviving spouse.

Joe Mustich, Justice of the Peace,
Washington, Connecticut, USA

And to the marriage police, please find something else to do with your time because life's to short. Find love.

And please remember that marriage is firstly a civil matter in America, as marriage licenses are issued by and recorded in town halls not church halls, or mosques or temples.

Joe Mustich, Justice of the Peace,
Washington, Connecticut, USA

Joe Mustich, JP---You are adorable!

To John Elway:

You sir, are a contridiction. Not all gays are 'Sexual Deivants', as you stated. Do you even know what that word means? There are how ever 'sexual deviants' that can be straight or gay. True these types should not be around children. But your blind hate from your inner world is showing itself. You just called all gays sexual deviants. Your choice of words, show your education. You can't hide it, at this point.
You call others weirdos, and how you feel you are a part of some sort of majority of suppossed noraml people, that has to put up with it all. You make others suffer, from your blind ignorrance and inner hate. It showed itself today. Do you see it? Or are you still suffering from Wonderland syndrom? When you wake up, you'll discover who you are, what made you that way, and how you got there. The choice from that point, is up to you. You might be surprised how many people think you're weird, and puts up with you. You may also be surprised how many of those people that you called weirdos, has, or might even oneday, do something good for you, because they understand what being "good" is.

To: John Elway,

Your Sarcasm and Cynicism are a pure reflection of what is going on with Christianity these days. Condemn! Condemn!

Remember, your are part of the only religion in the world in which you are born GUILTY.

Being part of a religion who eats the body of their leader, drink his blood and prays to him while he is hanging, nailed and bleeding on a piece of wood, is very, very scary. Some might say Cannibalistic????

Perhaps we should build that gigantic boat that you guys claim to have built and put all of your kind in it. Oh, by the way, take that talking snake with you!

With luck, yours will land in a place with not internet access to spread your evil words.

No wonder your religion is loosing more followers per day that any other religion.

Perhaps some Acidophilus might correct your toxicity.

Concentrate on positive acts and living your life instead of quoting and interpreting the Bible for those of us who just don't care. You are not recruiting.(if you are, bad job!)

Live and love. Don't throw up!

PS: I love fudge, specially with nuts.

To all of you in this blog:

I apologize to whom ever I offended (except this mean person), John Elway just achieved his goal, he brought me down to his level.

Again, sorry for my rederick.

Mr Elway:

An idle mind is the devils workshop.

Get a job!

This is beyond insane. We have to be human.

What would have cost this social worker to let her in and spend the last hours with her partner.

I think it is a damn sick worker that has taken her personal beliefs and inflicted severe damage to both Jackson Hospital and Ms Langhbehn.

I hope she can live with herself and her cruelty.

Wouldn't it be great if people could, on both sides of the debate, stop invoking imaginary beings and focus on the humanity of this situation? This is a horrible position that this woman was put in, and it cannot be rationally defended nor renounced based on what some imaginary-being-in-the-sky or human-prophet-who-died-twenty-centuries-ago may have said or meant.

With the exception of people like "John Elway" who doubtlessly wants everyone he interacts with to look and act just like himself and does not care what damage is done in attempting to make it so, I defy anybody to justify what this woman went through without invoking deities, dogma, or other mythical bases of "good" behavior.

Because a good, stiff shot of dogma makes the guilt all go away, doesn't it?

Forget Florida...move to IOWA!!!! This is truly shameful Florida...sexual orientation aside...noone who has assign Power of Attorney, should have their legal wishes be denied. Let a lone die without ones family.

@shakespeare My GOD is this what christianity has been reduced to a bunch of squabbling stuck up INTOLERANT biblebashing idiots, if that is what YOUR GOD demands then i am glad to call myself a pagan. Your Hypocrisy has ruined any chance of you calling yourself a Good Little christian.

Let those who are LBGT live in peace because there will always be those who will be that way in their own choice no one made them gay they did it out of their own choice so what the hell kind of right do people to force their own personal choices on others.

I don't believe any of us can understand the mind of god. To claim as much is to insult god. I don't believe in the superstitions of the christians, but I respect their right to their faith. All of us have the capicity for love or hate. In every moment of our lives we can make a choice to be loving or hateful. To see ourselves reflected in our opposition. I don't believe the one who created us created us to hate, but when you put down another and try to take away the dignity the creator gave them, you are simply insulting the creator. Good luck when you pass from this world.

Shame on that hospital. It's about simple human sympathy.

All that "going to hell" and "sexual deviant" talk is totally out of place here.

The issue is not sexuality at all. The issue is the recognition of legal documents such as power of attorney, medical proxy and living wills. Americans rights must never be based on the approval, acceptance, tolerance or agreement of heterosupremacist tyrannical theocRATS like the people who posted here and voted against equality in last year's election.

Only when America's constitution is unconditional will we live in a free country. Until then tyrannical theocRATS can take their bronze age sun revolves around a flat earth bible and shove it down your own throats, and choke on it.

I am astounded at the cruelty people in your country are capable of - based on ideological prejudice. And I am dumbfounded that people can respond to this cruelty so heartlessly - simply to express their ideological prejudice. Makes me feel proud not to be that kind of 'Christian'.

"Do not judge, so that you may not be judged... 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?' Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.'”

Jesus, the friend of sinners and disposessed, scourge of the self-righteous and hypocrites - taken from Matthew 7.

You sound like a very unhappy person, Mr. Elway. Perhaps Christianity, with its focus on non-judgment, mercy, tolerance, etc., is not a good fit for you. You also seem to have some issues with personal freedom, and an unrealistic sense of entitlement. Do you spend a lot of time visualizing sexual deviants preying on children? Maybe more than 50% of your waking hours?

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