January 27th, 2009

kaiju

Support from within the State Department


It's heartening to see that the "everyday-folks" who work in State are aware of and in opposition to the selected discrimination against same-sex partners of officials living and working in other nations. From Americablog.com:

emphasis mine -


The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Madam Secretary:

We congratulate you on your Senate confirmation, and we look forward to working with you in promoting America’s interests and strengthening our national security in this rapidly changing world. Whether assigned stateside or overseas, Civil Service or Foreign Service, active or retired, we are all proud to be serving our nation.

We, the undersigned and representing the diversity of the foreign affairs agencies, would like to bring to your attention a matter that concerns us all. All of us are troubled that our families are not all treated equally and with the same respect.
We are concerned that access to the federal health care insurance program is denied to same-sex partners of employees serving in Third World countries with substandard medical care. We question the logic of leaving same-sex partners to fend for themselves during an emergency evacuation of a high danger post. We are embarrassed when the Department will reimburse a variety of moving expenses, including the cost of transporting a pet, when an employee is assigned overseas, but will not do the same for a same-sex partner. We are saddened that individual and community safety are put at risk because full language instruction is not available to same-sex partners. We are uncomfortable that same-sex partners receive less compensation and fewer benefits for performing exactly the same job inside the mission as an opposite-sex spouse, that is, when same-sex partners are given a chance to work.

An order from your office designating same-sex partners as Eligible Family Members (EFMs) could remedy many of the inequalities that these families face. Other remedies will require coordination between the Executive and Legislative branches.

Madam Secretary, we believe that no colleague of ours is a second-class colleague, and no colleague's family is a second-class family. Given your commitment to protecting the safety and promoting the welfare of all Foreign Service families, we ask for your full consideration of our concerns and we hope that a dialogue aimed at ending this unequal treatment can be started.

Your loyal staff


Yes, you've read that right. Our government will pay to relocate PETS, but not same-gender partners... outrageous. And I like how if you happen to be the same-gender spouse of a diplomat and the embassy gets attacked, you're just supposed to look after yourself. While waving goodbye to the other spouses as they're air-lifted out, I'm sure.

Well, at least when they need emergency medical care, same-gender spouses can look up an understaffed, underfunded, poorly stocked and maintained 3rd world doctor to take care of 'em... nothing but the best!

And what is the response from the new State Department: (from WaPo.com)

A State Department official said Clinton had received the letter. "The secretary wants to review this soon and plans to hear from all relevant stakeholders," he added.
Gee, thanks. Don't hurt yourself trying to correct this wrong or anything. And, just what "stakeholders" do you need to 'hear from'?! This clearly falls within the purvue of the Secretary of State's discretion; she needs to hear opposing views why exactly?
kaiju

Preach it, Brother!


From a NYT Op-Ed, Bob Herbert:


The question that I would like answered is why anyone listens to this crowd anymore. G.O.P. policies have been an absolute backbreaker for the middle class. (Forget the poor. Nobody talks about them anymore, not even the Democrats.) The G.O.P. has successfully engineered a wholesale redistribution of wealth to those already at the top of the income ladder and then, in a remarkable display of chutzpah, dared anyone to talk about class warfare.


I ask the same thing.

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