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Hillary Clinton to Grant Equal Benefits to Gay Diplomats

Hillary Clinton to Grant Equal Benefits to Gay Diplomats

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to release a memo that will extend equal benefits to gay diplomats and their partners.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to release a memo that will extend equal benefits to gay diplomats and their partners, according to AP.
 
"The Bush administration had eased some rules, opening up some training to same-sex partners, but had resisted efforts to treat homosexual partners the same as married couples. Thus a wide array of benefits were denied to same-sex partners, such as paid travel to and from overseas posts, employment opportunities at the embassy, visas and diplomatic passports, mail privileges and evacuation in case of a security emergency or medical necessity.
Many of these benefits will now be granted under the policy shift that will be announced by Clinton in the coming days, according to an official with the Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies organization who has seen a draft copy of a memo she plans to issue." according to the AP.

Reportedly, Wisconsin's openly gay Representative Tammy Baldwin (D) is behind the request. She said in an exclusive OUTTAKEOnline interview that she had made similar requests to Clinton's predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, but little had come of the effort.

In a notice to be sent soon to State Department employees, Clinton said 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 stated.
"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 added.

The announcement, expected this week, was provided to the AP by a State Department official who is a member of the Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies organization. Two department officials not affiliated with the organization confirmed its accuracy.

This change in policy sends a clear message to the world that America believes in equal rights for everyone, including the dedicated diplomats who serve the country abroad.
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Mona Elyafi