Could Charlene Strong’s Heartbreak Happen Again? In Wisconsin, It’s Closer Than You Think.

This is an important week in Wisconsin; not just for Wisconsinites, but for the rest of us in the United States as well. This Tuesday is the recall election for three of the Republican State Senators who voted to strip Union rights last winter through illegal votes under the false pretense of a budget crisis.

Since then, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the Republican Wisconsin Legislature have passed laws making it harder to vote in poor and minority areas that tend to vote Democratic and easier to vote in white and wealthier areas that tend to vote Republican.

In the build up to Tuesday’s important vote, I want to draw your attention westward to Seattle’s Charlene Strong. Like Janice Langbehn, Ms. Strong’s wife’s death was compounded by the unmitigated cruelty of hospital staff.

She told her story recently at a gathering of The Moth. (Don’t worry, the video isn’t pixelated like the image.)

What does this have to do with Wisconsin? In May, Governor Walker asked a Wisconsin court to allow him to stop defending a law that affords lesbian and gay couples similar rights to hospital visitation that straight people have always had.

Governor Walker is going out of his way to make sure that lesbians and gay men die alone in a hospital bed with their most significant others on the other side of the wall.

The good news is that this is mitigated to some degree by new Health and Human Services rules that require hospitals, if they receive federal funding (including Medicare and Medicaid), to let patients choose who they want to have access.

Unfortunately, those HHS rules are only guaranteed as long as President Obama is in office, and they don’t apply to hospitals that don’t receive federal funding.

Wisconsinites, vote to recall Republicans on Tuesday. There is little question that your state’s Republicans will line up behind Walker on a new anti-gay law. Our lesbian sisters and gay brothers deserve better than what Wisconsin Republicans have planned for them.

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