Monday, May 25, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Hopes To Give Equal Benefits To Partners Of Gay And Lesbian Diplomats

This weekend it was announced that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will soon grant gay American diplomats equal benefits to those that heterosexuals enjoy.

In a notice sent to State Department employees, Clinton says regulations that denied same-sex couples and their families the same rights and privileges that straight diplomats enjoyed are "unfair and must end," as they harm U.S. diplomacy.

"Providing training, medical care and other benefits to domestic partners promote the cohesiveness, safety and effectiveness of our posts abroad," she says in the message, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

"It will also help the department attract and retain personnel in a competitive environment where domestic partner benefits and allowances are increasingly the norm for world-class employers," she says.

"At bottom, the department will provide these benefits for both opposite-sex and same-sex domestic partners because it is the right thing to do," Clinton says.

Among the benefits that will now be granted gay diplomats: the right of domestic partners to hold diplomatic passports, government-paid travel for their partners and families to and from foreign posts, and the use of U.S. medical facilities abroad.

In addition, gay diplomats' families will now be eligible for U.S. government emergency evacuations and training courses at the Foreign Service Institute, the message says.

The plan has not yet been publicly approved by the State Department.


stacy said...

I am psyched about this although some legal watchers are saying that the new rules could conflict with other federal employment laws defining "spouse" in the usual way- I haven't look into it yet but I'm hoping that the State Dept. will be able to work around any potential problems without there being a court showdown.

On her very first day at State, HRC promised to end the discriminatory policies g/l/b people face there and it appears she is making good on that promise. Props to her!

Still4Hill said...

Yes, stacy - as we have said all along, she is a woman of her word. Characteristics here we always knew about her:

- She listens.
- She considers what she has heard
- She makes a fair decision.
- She acts on it.

That is why we supported her for POTUS. And i have the impression we knew our girl much better than Obama's supporters knew him.

Sarah said...

i hope this get passed too, obviously. with all the prop 8 stuff going on, it is really messed up to watch progress go backwards. but it is great that we can clearly see Hillary taking steps in the right direction where she can make a difference.

i only wish she had the power to create laws outside of the State Department... if Hill was POTUS, she wouldnt let prop 8 stand.

Stacy said...


I agree. I also give her credit for admitting that there was a time in her life where she wasn't entirely comfortable with the issue of gay rights but that she "evolved" (her word, not mine). I have a lot of respect for people who are able to change their viewpoint based on experience and I think that is essentially what happened. As you probably know, in her book, 'Living History' she tells the story about the gay couple who helped take care of her father when he was sick and who were there when he died ad it seemed to clearly have an impact on her, understandably

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