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“Same-sex couples have to take an extra step to make sure their rights and their relationships are recognized,” says Meaghan E. Hearn, secretary of the LGBT Bar Association of the District of Columbia. That step is to make sure all estate-planning documents are in order. Though same-sex marriage was legalized in D.C. in 2009, without universal protection, emergency hospitalization outside the District could mean that that family members other than a spouse would be asked to make crucial decisions for a patient. Hearn says she’s “had colleagues rush to the hospital with a laptop to meet with a client—who is possibly in a lot of pain—because in that situation, a general power-of-attorney can be drafted on demand.” The issue is one that the association has tried to tackle for decades, in addition to responding to discrimination within the legal profession and advocating for the rights of the community as a whole. Formerly called GAYLAW, the association was founded in 1990 and does its work on a pro-bono basis. Members run an estate planning clinic for low-income HIV/AIDS patients at Whitman-Walker Health’s Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center. “Just because somebody doesn’t make as much money…doesn’t mean they aren’t just as concerned about what happens should they pass along or become incapacitated,” says Hearn.