Friday, March 14, 2008

Virginia Governor Signs Medical Rights Bill

As I had previously posted, most of the bills that would be beneficial to gays that were introduced in the Virginia General Assembly went down in defeat at the hands of the Christo-fascist elements within the General Assembly. One bill did survive, however, which should strengthen the ability of LGBT couples to make sure their medical powers of attorney and advanced medical directives (a/k/a living wills) are honored. The majority of the hospitals in the greater Norfolk area - save and except the Catholic run hospitals - already generally recogize properly executed and notarized advanced medical directives and medical powers of attorney. I know from my own experience that Sentara Norfolk General honored my documents naming my then partner as my attorney-in-fact. The registry to be established would make it easier for health care providers to verify the existence of proper documentation, particularly in instances where for some reason a copy of the documents were not available. Here are some highlights from the Washington Blade's story (
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) recently signed into law a bill that would set up a medical registry giving gay couples more authority in making decisions for partners in case of medical emergencies. Kaine signed the bill, House Bill 805, on March 4. The law is expected to go into effect July 1. The measure would set up a state registry for living wills and advanced medical directives. Although it is not specifically aimed at helping gays, it would enable those in same-sex relationships to designate their partner as the person who would make medical decisions on their behalf.
Rep. David Englin (D-Alexandria), the sponsor of the bill, said the law will be “an instrument to provide equal legal protection to all Virginians, including gay and lesbian couples, during medical emergencies.” "While all Virginians can benefit from this registry, in particular it will enable gay and lesbian Virginians to designate their partners as the people to make medical decisions on their behalf — a legal power married couples enjoy by default,” he said.

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