The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


44 The Obama Presidency

State Dept. Plan Would Extend Benefits to Same Sex Partners

Updated 11:36 a.m.
By Glenn Kessler
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will soon announce that the partners of gay U.S. diplomats are eligible for many benefits currently denied them and allowed to spouses of heterosexual diplomats, according to lawmakers and others advocating the change.

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. The official provided a copy of the memo to The Washington Post.

The issue achieved prominence in 2007 when a respected ambassador, Michael Guest, resigned after 26 years in the Foreign Service to protest the rules and regulations that he argued gave same-sex partners fewer benefits than family pets. Guest said he was forced to choose "between obligations to my partner, who is my family, and service to my country," which he called "a shame for this institution and our country."

Guest was a member of Obama's State Department transition team. And Clinton, during her confirmation hearings, indicated a greater willingness to explore the issue.

In the memo, Clinton said: "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."

State Department officials said the draft indicates the direction Clinton hopes to go, but the final policy document still requires additional consultation within the department.

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, last week dropped plans to legislatively require such a policy change, as part of the State Department reauthorization bill.

"It is my expectation, based on very recent conversations, that the Secretary of State will move forward with implementing all of the benefits provided in that provision in the very near future," Berman said at a hearing on the bill.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the top Republican on the committee, is also a strong supporter of the new policy, having lobbied for it during the Bush administration.

Earlier this year, nearly 2,200 government employees involved in foreign policy issues signed a letter to Clinton calling on the government to give equal benefits to same-sex partners.

Clinton's draft includes the following list of additional benefits and allowances:

-- Diplomatic passports;

-- Inclusion on employee travel orders to and from posts abroad;

-- Shipment of household effects;

-- Inclusion in family size calculations for the purpose of making housing allocations;

-- Family member preference for employment at posts abroad;

-- Use of medical facilities at posts abroad;

-- Medical evacuation from posts abroad;

-- Emergency travel for the partners to visit gravely ill or injured employees;

-- Inclusion as family members for emergency evacuation from posts abroad;

-- Subsistence payments related to emergency evacuation from posts abroad;

-- Inclusion in calculations of payments of overseas differentials and allowances (e.g., payment for quarters, cost of living, and other allowances);

-- Representation expenses;

-- Training at the Foreign Service Institute.

Posted at 7:35 AM ET on May 24, 2009  | Category:  44 The Obama Presidency
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p.s. Lovit: there are loads of gays working in congress. and there is no political incentive to intervene. Progress marches on....

Posted by: nevo28 | May 26, 2009 10:58 PM


Posted by: nevo28 | May 26, 2009 10:54 PM

Wake up HILLARY!!

Posted by: jzeikel | May 25, 2009 10:08 AM
Wake up yourself THAT is what she proposes--same rights for gays/lesbians.

Sodom & Gomorrah:
the indecency and perverse sexual practices of their inhabitants. Could mean:
Beastiality/Orgies/Dominextrix. Do not quote the bible if you do not know WHAT is being spoken of.

The Book of Romans has 16 Chapters. Obviously you haven't bothered to read beyond Chapter 1. The 15 other chapters clearly states you should not judge anyone who does the things outlined in Chapter 1 because we all have done 1 or more of them.

Posted by: GrrrlRomeo | May 25, 2009 5:09 AM

Posted by: katerinaDeligiannis | May 26, 2009 10:04 PM

I used to be opposed to same-sex marriages, until the belligerent, punitive, and cruel fanaticism of conservatives convinced me otherwise.

I much prefer allowing same-sex marriage to encouraging a class of people who think they have a god-given right to legislate the private relations between people. It's much the less dangerous choice.

Posted by: nodebris | May 26, 2009 12:17 AM

Charging usury was a sin that flourished in Sodom and Gomorrah. It was one of those manifestations of people seeing each other as objects to be exploited for selfish reasons.

Posted by: rooster54 | May 25, 2009 7:02 PM

Homosexuality is one case where many republicans hate the sinner, but just love the sin.

Posted by: rooster54 | May 25, 2009 2:16 PM

just a responce to gerrlromeo, yes, read it and take it for what it is,and do not allow the very apearance of evil be waved around in your face,and allow the freaks to demand you vote on something that should be not an issue for public debate,and sit on the fence if you like,as for me, i will not be lukewarm,but strive to be what was ment to be.

Posted by: silusdogood | May 25, 2009 10:20 AM


Which Christian is "speaking evil" of Hillary? Compared to homosexuals who won't abide by majority rules? Pointing out sinful behavior in love is NOT "speaking evil".

Posted by: JakeD | May 25, 2009 10:18 AM


Try Exodus International if you want to change homosexuality.

Posted by: JakeD | May 25, 2009 10:11 AM

Secretary Clinton may now have things only HALF CORRECT.

If she wants to extend benefits to same sex partners, she MUST also include opposite sex partners. At the moment they are NOT included for all the rights the gay couples are seeking.

Wake up HILLARY!!

Posted by: jzeikel | May 25, 2009 10:08 AM

I just had to respond to silusdogood. A third of homeless youth identify as LGBT.

The Book of Romans has 16 Chapters. Obviously you haven't bothered to read beyond Chapter 1. The 15 other chapters clearly states you should not judge anyone who does the things outlined in Chapter 1 because we all have done 1 or more of them.

Posted by: GrrrlRomeo | May 25, 2009 5:09 AM

im not sure hillary and janet reno werent a thing,but gays rights at a time when this country is home to thousands of homeless familys and children? lets forget this sickness and focus on important issues,like general electric,and the president they and the unions own.
i probably shouldnt give opinion on gay rights,but billary ask for it so here goes. read the book of romans,you will not have to read long before you have your answer.i long for the good days when people could leave their doors unlocked,perverted sick people stayed in the closet,and didnt parade around demanding our aproval of their freak of nature agena.

Posted by: silusdogood | May 25, 2009 2:41 AM

What a crock! I sincerely hope the Congress
will intervene and block this idiocy.

Posted by: Lovit | May 24, 2009 11:22 PM

I'll thank fair1 for providing a comment that gleefully dances along the edge of parody. It's a medical breakthrough and should be submitted to the Colbert Rapport for immediate publication.

But seriously folks. I'm waiting on the research that that formula turns you gay. Not to mention the fact that fair1 is unaware that most formula is based on cows milk--soy based is for lactose intolerant. So, keep those kids away from cheese!

Mmmm. Bacon and eggs. I'm a little more partial to proscuitto, but sounds pretty good to me!


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 24, 2009 7:46 PM

A crucial time for the programming of the human reproduction system
is right after birth--the very time when bottles of soy-based formula are
given to non-breastfed babies. Normally during this period, the
body surges with natural estrogens, testosterones, and other hormones
that are meant to program the baby's reproductive development from
infancy through puberty and into adulthood. For infants on soy
formula, this programming may be interrupted. Male infants experience
a testosterone surge during the first few months of life and produce
androgens in amounts equal to those of adult men. So much testosterone at a young age is needed to program the body for puberty, the time when a male's sex organs should develop and he should begin to express male characteristics such as facial and pubic hair and a deep voice. If receptor sites intended for the hormone
testosterone are occupied by soy estrogens, however, appropriate
development may never take place. To date, most of the evidence damning soy formula can be found only in animal studies, because investigations in which humans' sex hormone levels are lowered experimentally cannot ethically be done. However, in the years since soy formula has been in the marketplace, parents and pediatricians have reported growing numbers of boys whose physical maturation is either delayed or does not occur at all. Breasts, underdeveloped gonads, undescended testicles (cryptorchidism), and steroid insufficiencies are increasingly common. Sperm counts are also
Combined with cumulative amounts of pesticide and herbicide exposure during utero, is it any surprise that nearly every
male born after 1970 is gay? Industrialized society is wiping itself out. Asking the rest of the world to accept something as foreign to them as "gay love" among our happily traveling diplomatic corp is a bit like skipping in to ask a Muslim to ignore the smell of bacon at sunrise. I've never seen bacon and eggs next door to a mosque. Maybe we should be wiped out.

Posted by: fair1 | May 24, 2009 6:52 PM

This is nothing but another chance for the liberals to just how "progressive" a nation we are and how hypocritical we can be. Why don't unmarried hetero couples get the same rights? Really, is it that the gays have been so traumatized by the State Dept or is it that the few who have been treated like their hetero peers just feel that it's time for another GLBT entitlement?

After all, aren't all all GLBT's entitled to do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want and get the government to pay for it. Think the Octomom is bad? Now the expectation from all GLBT's (who cannot abide by the rule of law, per Prop 8) of the rest of us is that we need to pay for the mainstreaming of their perversions. Do what you want with whom or what you wish but don't try to make the taxpayers pay for it.

Posted by: gamiller1 | May 24, 2009 6:06 PM

We need a revival in this country?

Yes, we need a revival of common sense and less superstitious beliefs. One that follows the Constitution instead of the narrow-minded beliefs of the religious zealots. Give us freedom from the tyranny of a religiously-run government, please; and give us all the freedom that our Constitution says we should have. Stop gay bashing for the sake of dividing our country.

Posted by: dwooddell1 | May 24, 2009 5:45 PM

Hopefully the other federal agencies will follow State's example.

Posted by: DontWannaMyPostID | May 24, 2009 4:50 PM

Looks like the GL threw the B&Ts under the bus on this on this one. BTW can an L have a G as domestic partner? Could I bring a farm animal?

Posted by: georgejones5 | May 24, 2009 4:47 PM

I'm in Iran visiting my grandparents right now and looking in from this angle you super religious people need to give it a break. Seriously, mandated religious beliefs lead to stagnation. Just imagine if some entity came and forced you to do every single thing that is considered to be "religious." I mean who cares!? All the Abrahamic religions believe that all individuals have their own souls. Therefore, if you're dumb enough to believe in a super vengeful God that is going to send people to hell just for being gay then so be it, but also realize that those people are going to hell and that's not going to affect your own soul!

Oh and to all those people blabbing about the taxpayers subsidizing immorality, be quiet. Its not we the taxpayers who are running our government, its our foreign creditors that we keep on borrowing from because all you conservatives keep on crying "high taxes." All in all this will be a microscopic portion of the federal budget. If you want to cry waste, cut abstinence only sex ed, that way we won't have to keep on paying for the costs of paying for the healthcare of teenage pregnancies.

Posted by: FairfaxIsBlue | May 24, 2009 4:02 PM

Government employees can do whatever they want when they're off the clock, but don't ask taxpayers to subsidize an immoral lifestyle -- or a PC campaign.

Posted by: zjr78xva | May 24, 2009 3:05 PM

Interesting, currently gay partners are classified as "members of household," as are unmarried partners in heterosexual relationships. Unmarried heterosexual partners also don't get the benefits outlined above, causing many to rush to get married before being deployed overseas. Does this mean that the State Dept. will now offer the same benefits to unmarried heterosexual partners that they do to unmarried gay couples? If not, it sounds like discrimination.

Posted by: WillStevens | May 24, 2009 2:56 PM

I here must remind all Christians, that we who love Jesus, cannot speak evil of the Secretary of State. Pray for souls of those State Department leaders and employees for their good and not evil. They often go in 'harms way':

"My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?" Proverbs 24:21-22

Posted by: amos3_3 | May 24, 2009 2:09 PM

I can't believe, in this day and age, we still deny rights to others based on their sexual preference and/or gender.

Good on State -- makes me proud to be American...

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | May 24, 2009 1:27 PM

As a member of the Foreign Service for over 15 years, this is a proud day. I've had enough of my gay and lesbian colleagues being treated as second-class citizens.

Posted by: innocentabroad | May 24, 2009 11:02 AM

"Apparently everyone has forgotten Sodom and Gomorrah."
Posted by: NormaTumberg | May 24, 2009 10:17 AM
We live in America, where our constitution provides for separation between church and state, furthermore, not everyone believes in your God, we have the right to choose our own religion, or, none at all. These are basic principles that America was founded upon.

If you don't like this may I suggest you move to another country that is more amenable to your "moral" restrictions?.

Posted by: JRM2 | May 24, 2009 10:55 AM

Apparently everyone has forgotten Sodom and Gomorrah.
Hilary has her sites on being the first woman president. That would give her more votes from the gay community.
We need to pray for a revival in this country. God needs to be back in the front seat, not out of everything. This country has a lot to repent of.

Posted by: NormaTumberg | May 24, 2009 10:17 AM

Has anyone given any thought to how negatively a State Department packed with "out" gays and lesbians will be viewed by 99 percent of the world?

Posted by: mediaskeptic | May 24, 2009 9:14 AM

To provide these benefits to hsame sex couples is perverted!

Posted by: FloridaCitizen | May 24, 2009 9:13 AM

Piecemeal equality? Just legalize gay marriage and be done with it. It is coming anyways.

Posted by: rcvinson64 | May 24, 2009 8:23 AM

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