Parade makes a political statement

No big name in the grand marshall’s seat for the annual St. Pete Pride as parade organizers have chosen to make a political statement instead. This from the organization today:

St. Pete Pride is please to announce that Janice Langbehn has agreed to be our Grand Marshall this year. Janice is not a house hold name yet but her story is compelling especially in light of the current attempt to deny gay partners any rights.

A year ago Janice Langbehn’s partner of nearly 18 years was pronounced brain dead after being stricken with a brain aneurysm. While at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, she was met with prejudice and apathy. Janice and her family were consistently denied visitation and didn’t see Lisa until many hours after she was admitted.

Langbehn, a social worker, said officials Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami did not recognize her or their jointly adopted children as part of Pond’s family. They were not allowed to be with her . . . and Langbehn’s authority to make decisions for Pond was not recognized.

Even after a friend in Olympia faxed the legal documents that showed that Pond had authorized Langbehn to make medical decisions for her, Langbehn said she wasn’t invited to be with her partner or told anything about her condition. She said she wasn’t allowed to see Pond again until a priest arrived to give “Last Rites.”

It was only after passionate pleas that a doctor finally spoke to the family about Pond’s condition, informing them that there was zero chance for recovery. With the help of a Catholic priest assigned to perform last the family was granted a five-minute visit, eight long hours after Pond was first admitted.

The Board of St. Pete Pride believes that this story and ones like it are necessary to put a personal face on the consequences of Amendment 2. Please come out and support St. Pete Pride on Saturday June 28, 2008 at 10AM.