Despite Terri-Ann Simonelli being in a registered domestic partnership with her female partner Brittney Leon, Spring Valley Hospital in Las Vegas refused to allow her to make crucial decisions which resulted in Ms Leon losing her unborn baby.
The couple had raced to the hospital to deal with complications with Ms Leon’s pregnancy, but were told that in order for Ms Simonelli to make decisions on behalf of her partner they needed to acquire a power-of-attorney, something not required by a married couple in the same situation.
Nevada state law, whilst it has not legalised gay marriage, did introduce domestic partnerships in 2009 which is supposed to give same-sex couples the same rights, protections and benefits as heterosexual married couples.
For an unknown reason the staff at Spring Valley Hospital decided to disregard the law and insist that Ms Simonelli acquire a document that she would be unable to get at such short notice. The delay in making decisions meant that the couple lost their child.
The couple are entitled to take the hospital to court, though they have not confirmed that they will do so. Some LGBT rights campaigners in the city hope that the publicity the potential case could bring would force Nevada State politicians to strengthen anti-discrimination laws against LGBT people.