President Barack Obama will honor gay rights advocate Janice Langbehn with the Presidential Citizens Medal at an October 20 reception.

Langbehn is among the 13 recipients this year to receive the nation's second-highest civilian honor.

“This year's recipients of the Citizens Medal come from different backgrounds, but they share a commitment to a cause greater than themselves,” said Obama in a statement. “They exemplify the best of what it means to be an American, and I am honored to be able to offer them a small token of our appreciation.”

Langbehn's story of being blocked by hospital officials from seeing her dying partner, Lisa Pond, moved the president to sign a directive ordering the Department of Health and Human Services to establish new rules that would prevent hospitals from denying visitation rights to the partners of gay men and lesbians.

Langbehn and three of the couple's four adopted children were banned by Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida from being by Pond's side as she slipped into a coma and died in 2007. Officials dismissed the couple's advanced healthcare directive.

Langbehn challenged the hospital's policy, but a federal court ruled against her in 2009.