Press Room

March 02, 2004

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HRC Launches Online Ad that Underscores Denial of Hospital Visitation Rights for Unmarried Couples

Ad Titled "What If It Was a Gay World?" Puts Viewers in Shoes of Man Barred from Visiting Female Partner in Hospital

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign launched an online ad today that underscores the denial of hospital visitation rights for unmarried couples. Produced by Radish Creative Group Inc., "What if it was a gay world?" puts viewers in the shoes of a man barred from visiting his female partner in the hospital.

"No American should ever have to experience being blocked from visiting their partner at the hospital room door," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "But without the right to marry, all too many couples have been denied this right. Sadly, there are some gay survivors who have even been robbed of the ability to say their final goodbyes to their partner. This ad shows the pain of a man who - in a world where opposite-sex couples are unable to marry - is confronted with this painful inequality."

"In discussions I've had with family and friends about marriage equality, it became clear to me that many non-gay Americans take the legal protections of marriage for granted," said Amy Weber, writer, producer and director of the ad. "I hope that when people see this ad, they'll understand that being married is about the love and commitment, but it's also about important legal protections afforded by the state."

Created for HRC's MillionforMarriage.org campaign, the ad is being used to encourage viewers to sign onto HRC's petition for marriage equality. As of March 1, more than 354,000 people had signed the petition.

"This provides a great opportunity for us to broach the topic with our non-gay family, friends and co-workers," added Jacques. According to a recent HRC-commissioned poll by Harris Interactive®, only 46 percent of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender respondents discuss public policy issues - like marriage - with their brothers and sisters, and only 32 percent with parents.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as rights to married couples are concerned," added Jacques. "There are more than 1,100 federal rights, benefits and obligations afforded to married couples under federal law, and hundreds of state protections."

Opposite-sex couples who have just met each other will have this right when they marry, whereas same-sex couples who have been together for more than 20 years can still be denied this right. Same-sex couples should work with an attorney to have hospital visitation authorization forms drawn up however, the paperwork can still be challenged by an unaware or hostile hospital staffer. To download a sample hospital visitation authorization form, visit: www.hrc.org/familynet.

To view the ad, created for HRC's MillionforMarriage campaign, visit:

http://www.hrc.org/millionformarriage/hospital-commercial/
.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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