Monday, January 11, 2010

State Legislative Shindigs

I am very far behind in being knowledgable about what's going on at the State House, but hope to catch up later in the week. One bill that was pointed out to me via Indy's Painfully Objective Political Analysis is this bill in the Senate. Sue Errington (D-Delaware County) is proposing that "domestic partnerships" (two people in a relationship living together but aren't married) get visitation rights. It sets out how a partner can provide proof of the relationship, allows a hospital to make reasonable restrictions (visitation hours, patient's health, or the patient or their legal guardian denies them visitation).

Now, the Eric Miller's of the world are going to go up in arms about this, but what they don't realize is that there are an increasing number of couples who are living together but not married. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with it. USA Today reported in 2005 that cohabitation rates are up:

The number of unmarried couples living together increased tenfold from 1960 to 2000, the U.S. Census says; about 10 million people are living with a partner of the opposite sex. That's about 8% of U.S. coupled households. Data show that most unmarried partners who live together are 25 to 34.

TEN MILLION? Now, that's a fraction of the national population, and probably so for Indiana too, but just because some demographic is part of a minority doesn't mean their basic human rights are thrown out the window.

Me? I don't see what all the fuss is about. If the patient is conscious and mentally able to make his or her own decisions, then he or she should allow whoever they want. But in the case that the patient isn't alert and talking, it's nice to have these guidelines set out so you can visit those you love when they need you the most.

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