Barack Obama | Discrimination | Health | News

Out Lesbian Janice Langbehn to Receive Nation's Second-Highest Civilian Honor from Obama

Out lesbian Janice Langbehn is one of 13 citizens to be honored at the White House on October 20 to receive the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor.

LangbehnThe White House writes:

While on vacation with her family in February 2007, Janice Langbehn’s partner, Lisa Pond, suddenly fell ill and was rushed to the hospital.  Langbehn was refused access to her partner, who had experienced a brain aneurysm and later died alone.  With the help of Lambda Legal and GLAAD, she filed a federal lawsuit and worked to get her story out to the nation. Janice's story received attention from President Obama, who personally apologized to her for the way she and her family was treated.  He went on to revise hospital visitation rights for gay and lesbian couples, which went into effect this past January for any hospitals receiving federal Medicare or Medicaid funds. Langbehn receives the Citizens Medal for her efforts to ensure all Americans are treated equally.

They add: "The Citizens Medal was established in 1969 to recognize American citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.  Like last year, President Obama is recognizing Americans this year whose work has had a significant impact on their communities but may not have garnered national attention.  In May, the President called on members of the public to nominate people in their lives who have performed exemplary deeds of service outside of their regular jobs, including individuals"

Watch Langbehn talk to Anderson Cooper in April 2010 about Obama's memorandum, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Oh, but I'm sure President McCain would have given her TWO civilian medals, and named a national park after her.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Oct 12, 2011 3:15:55 PM

  2. While I feel for her, there are certainly much greater heroes in our community who could have been recognized. Lady Gaga comes to mind. As do Boies and Olsen. Hell, Frank Kameny just died yesterday. And isn't it a bit hypocritical to honor her for fighting for rights that are denied to us because we can't marry. Something that he refuses to get on board with? Typical arrogance from Obama. The woman HE made a "hero" is the one most worthy of praise. Blech...Oh, and gregoire, save your strawman for halloween.

    Posted by: gaylib | Oct 12, 2011 3:50:33 PM

  3. GAYLIB,

    when SlimJim gets re-elected are you going to seek some psychiatric help? You seem to suffer so since he's been in the White House ( actually since he won the 2008 Democratic Primary). I worry about you, child.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Oct 12, 2011 5:25:21 PM

  4. OK guys--a little sympathy here: GAYLIB has to live in that head.

    Posted by: Danny | Oct 12, 2011 5:54:36 PM

  5. Lady gaga? Seriously? Smh.

    Posted by: Kathlene | Oct 12, 2011 6:00:45 PM

  6. Glib is short for Gaylib, right?

    Posted by: Your Mom | Oct 12, 2011 8:06:52 PM

  7. Obama's gonna give her a shiny toy, but not the right to marry.

    Posted by: Max | Oct 12, 2011 10:42:30 PM

  8. Um, Max, you do realize that marriage laws are determined by the states and that the federal Defense of Marriage Act can only be repealed by Congress or declared unconstitutional by the federal courts, right? Obama doesn't control this issue, save for already insrtucting the Justice Dept. not to defend DOMA in court. Whereas John Boehner is going to spend $1.5 million of taxpayer money to defend this crap.

    Posted by: albert | Oct 13, 2011 1:12:01 AM

  9. Um, Albert, you do realize that Obama has declared marriage to be between a man and a woman, so it wouldn't matter anyway? And far from being a "fierce advocate," he hasn't ever spoken up for marriage equality. Ever.

    It's really pathetic how you battered-wife gays support Obama no matter how much he sidelines you.

    Shiny toy.

    Posted by: Max | Oct 13, 2011 7:29:36 AM

  10. And Max, I suppose you're looking for the Rethugs to be our heros, huh? Talk about getting things twisted!

    Posted by: albert | Oct 13, 2011 8:18:08 AM

  11. Max: "Um, Albert, you do realize that Obama has declared marriage to be between a man and a woman, so it wouldn't matter anyway?"

    What wouldn't matter? Your drivel makes no sense. States decide to enact marriage equality, not the federal government. The only federal law concerning marriage is DOMA, which Obama has stopped defending in court. Aside from his personal affirmation, which has absolutely no legislative significance, what more do you want?

    Speaking of his personal affirmation, are you really ready to declare him an enemy because he hasn't become the first president in history to support full marriage equality? If he has raised your expectations of a president so drastically, doesn't that make him an unprecedented ally? Besides, hasn't he said all along he's "evolving" on the issue? For a sitting president with a re-election campaign on the horizon, and who, for a dem, received an unprecedented chunk of the evangelical vote to get into office, isn't that pretty damn good??

    Posted by: JeffRob | Oct 13, 2011 11:38:24 AM

  12. @ Max,

    You understand, like everyone, that DOMA is headed for the Supreme Court (soon), and its fate will be decided there. Why are you so uncomfortable with the scary specter of Obama appointing more Supreme Court justices if he's reelected? Why are you "just fine" with a Republican appointing Supreme Court justices?

    I'm sure you know that overturning DOMA in court is the next huge step for equality in the very near future. Supreme Court justices are not shiny toys. Look at the track record:

    Sotomayer and Kagan (Obama)
    Ginsburg and Breyer (Clinton)

    Scalia, Thomas, ad nauseum (Republicans)

    Obama has used the bully pulpit to publicly denounce DOMA, but he hasn't tried to convince state-level voters to vote for marriage equality. And for that, you prefer that his Republican opponent wins? You sound like a Christian Dominionist who's very uncomfortable with the specter of DOMA being overturned. If that isn't a queer man who's a battered wife, I don't know what is. Sounds very self-loathing to me.

    Posted by: Artie | Oct 13, 2011 11:45:39 AM

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