The facts are pretty simple. Rolling Hills Hospital wouldn't let Val Burke visit her partner because she's not her partner's legal spouse or family member. She's not her spouse's legal partner because Tennessee won't let gay people get married. I hear there's sound theological reasoning for this, but I've read the Bible a time or two and I must point out that there's absolutely no prohibitions on lesbian sex. In fact, if one were to judge by which things have the least guidelines attached to it, one would have to conclude that lesbian sex is the only kind of sex God has absolutely no issues with. So, if we were just following God's lead, you'd think Tennessee would make it super easy for lesbians to get married and everyone else would have increasingly difficult hoops to jump through.
But, alas, our prejudices against gay people are only justified by the Bible, not taken literally from it, so God's Lesbian Loophole remains ignored.
Anyway, it turns out that Rolling Hills Hospital takes Medicare and Medicaid, which means they have to follow the rules that "protect hospital patients’ right to choose their own visitors during a hospital stay, including a visitor who is a same-sex domestic partner." Those rules apply to all patients at the hospital, not just the ones under Medicare and Medicaid.
So, Chris Sanders and the Tennessee Equality Project call the hospital, and Burke reports, "Thanks to Chris Sanders this issue was resolved quickly. Today I received a call from an administrator at the hospital who asked me if I wanted to come and visit."
This is great news. And it is awesome that we have Sanders and the rest of the folks at TEP to do this important advocacy work. It'd be nice if we kept them a little less busy, though.