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Chovexani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-25-09 11:33 PM
Original message
Some great news from the State Department!
Diplomats' same-sex partners to get benefits

(05-24) 04:00 PDT Washington - --

The State Department will offer equal benefits and protections to same-sex partners of U.S. diplomats, according to an internal memorandum Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sent last week to an association of gay and lesbian Foreign Service officers.

Clinton said the policy change addressed an inequity in the treatment of domestic partners and would help the State Department recruit diplomats, because many international employers already offer such benefits.

"Like all families, our Foreign Service families come in different configurations," Clinton said in the memo, a copy of which was provided to the New York Times by a member of the gay and lesbian association.

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

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/0...

We need more common sense fairness like this. A real no brainer. Kudos to Sec. Clinton. :toast:
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HarukaTheTrophyWife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-25-09 11:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. But didn't you know that she has nothing to do with this, and it's illegal or her to do this?!?!?!
Edited on Mon May-25-09 11:34 PM by HarukaTheTrophyWife
At least, that's what I've heard in GD:P.
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Chovexani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-25-09 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. This is your cue to call me a PUMA
Sheesh girl, remember your lines!
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HarukaTheTrophyWife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-25-09 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. PUMA
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-25-09 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. And its pretty much true. SecState can not change that for the State Dept
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Chovexani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-25-09 11:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Man it's a shame
When tourists get lost in the wrong part of Lahunga Beach.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-25-09 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Even sillier when people post on topics already well covered in prior threads
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HarukaTheTrophyWife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-25-09 11:44 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Even sillier when people get lost in the wrong part of Laguna Beach
And don't realize it.
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Chovexani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-25-09 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Go back to GDP
Edited on Mon May-25-09 11:51 PM by Chovexani
It was not discussed here, therefore we're discussing it here.

If you don't like it, GTFO.

PS: Put some pants on, for chrissake. Your ass is showing.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 12:04 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Discussion? Have yet to see any on this thread outside of Laguna/Lahunga silliness
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 12:13 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. This was your idea of dicussion, pointing out the story was covered elsewhere?
Come on, this is a topic relevant to the GLBTQ forum and community and many have not seen it elsewhere.

We need not defend posting gay related topics here, do we?

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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 12:16 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. See posts #3 and #12
Edited on Tue May-26-09 12:19 AM by ProgressiveProfessor
They add more than the Lahunga and Laguna Beach kvetching
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 12:19 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. We're cross posting - please refer to my reply to you below.
Edited on Tue May-26-09 12:20 AM by bluedawg12
Thank you.

ETA: Reply #16.
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QC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 08:16 AM
Response to Reply #6
27. Go away. n/t
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HarukaTheTrophyWife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-25-09 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Sorry "Progressive"Professor, you're in the wrong part of Laguna Beach
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 12:04 AM
Response to Original message
10. That's a bit of good news! Even if Calif. hangs by a thread tonight
I'll take it for a bit of hope.

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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. The problem is that she can not deliver on the promise...
OPM and the other civil service agencies and processes that have to be gone through, not to mention Federal legislation and budget dances required. SecState does not dictate personnel policies when it comes to benefits of Federal employment, even in her own department. That said, I fully support her objective.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #12
16. Well, that remains to be seen.
Here is what the story said:

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

A senior State Department official confirmed the new policy, though he did not say when it would take effect."

I would venture that the SoS looked into this matter before going public and also, ran it by the administration and the WH.

So, while this is an unusual move and there are processes that must be followed, why should I believe that this story would go public without careful pre-planning of the issues you raised?

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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. Because the process is long and lengthy and not solely the call of the executive branch
Its a great concept and an excellent sound bite, but it goes against current black letter law (DOMA). There is no guarantee that SecState can make this happen, despite the best of intentions.

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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 12:34 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. Certainly I don't expect a press release such as this without forethought.
Now, while this is late at night at the end of a holiday week-end and this is a brand new thread, so my research time on this is limited, however, in reply to the matters that you raised, here is a glimpse of how this issue had surfaced earlier this year and this from the Sec. of State's website and seems consistent with my position that such an announcement would not be made without having all the ducks in a row.

Further, this shows prior thought and an intention to act and act quickly.

.............

http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2009a/02/116022.htm

Town Hall Meeting
Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy

Dean Acheson Auditorium

Washington, DC

February 4, 2009


QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary, and thank you for coming to address us today. My name is Ralan Hill. Im a Foreign Service officer. I am here in Washington on TDY, going to Paraguay. I have a same-sex partner, whos been recognized as a member of household by the Department of State. Because of that, the Department actively discriminates against me and my family in a number of areas by limiting our access to benefits routinely and customarily provided to other families here in the Department. As one example, if I were assigned overseas to a post that came under a mandatory evacuation order, I would be required to leave, although the Department is under no legal obligation to do anything to help my partner. He could be left literally to fend for himself in a war zone.


While I hope you find the current situation unacceptable, my question is what can you do to eliminate this discrimination, and what timeline do you see for making such changes? Thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you for raising that. (Applause.) You know, this is an issue of real concern to me. And even though, as you pointed out, all of our personnel share the same service requirements, the partners in same-sex relationships are not offered the same training, the same benefits, and the same protections that other family members receive when you serve abroad. So I view this as an issue of workplace fairness, employee retention, and the safety and effectiveness of our embassy communities worldwide.


So I have asked for a staff review of current policies, especially those that are set forth in State Department regulations, and recommendations and a strategy for making effective changes. This is on a its on a fast timeline, but weve begun that process. We are reviewing what would need to be changed, what we can legally change. A lot of things we cannot legally change by a decision in the State Department. But lets see what we can determine is within our realm of responsibility, and we are moving on that expeditiously.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 12:42 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. I know the process and the inherent delays...and its not rocket science, just time consuming
Edited on Tue May-26-09 12:43 AM by ProgressiveProfessor
Though I fully support the goal, I am disappointed at what I see as little more than a feel good sound bite that is completely beyond the authority of SecState.

I believe your position to be naive and you clearly have much more respect for politicians that I do...but given the objective hopefully you are correct and I am wrong
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 01:02 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. It may take time - but if/when she announces it will happen, it will happen.
Here are some specifics of the plan, and also information that the secretary of State had already mentioned her intentions before Congress.

You are mistaken in your attempt to segue into an ad hominem by calling me naive about politics or process.

You seem to ignore that I am fully cognizant that this has not yet happened and my previous comment was that "it remains to be seen." Meaning, the media can get it wrong, which, BTW, was not your argument. Your agrument was that it could not be done as claimed, viz a viz, by the Sec. of State.

Your miscalculation about my motive is that, if anything, the last thing I want to see happen, on a personal note, is for the gay community to be set up for yet another disappointment from a politician.

However, while rumors may start in the media and ultimately turn out to be without foundation, as I said, this remains to be seen as it has not been confirmed by the Sec. of State and until I hear her say the words on the TV machine - it remains a possibility and a probability.

Speaking of political naivete, do you think that such an announcement would reach the mainstream media and not be quashed by the State Dept. if the release was premature? Or untrue?

Your other argument about process I have already addressed and put to rest. This topic was up for fast track study back on February 4th according to the State Dept. web site.

..........

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30912364 /

Partners will hold diplomatic passports
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 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.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the changes.


Previously, the State Department had withheld some benefits from the families of gay diplomats, citing the Defense of Marriage Law, which had restricted federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

One former ambassador, Michael Guest, resigned from the foreign service in 2007 to protest the restrictions. Guest was a part of the Obama administration's State Department transition team and played a major role in lobbying for the changes.

Clinton told members of Congress last week that she would soon announce the revisions.
...........

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crim son Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 12:18 AM
Response to Original message
15. The tides have shifted; the times are a-changing
but not here in GLBT. United we stand, etc. Jeebus, you'd think you people are Democrats, or something. :P

That's good news. I think we're witnessing something phenomenal and though it's okay to be critical, still, let's pretend we aren't and keep pushing.

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Chovexani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 12:32 AM
Response to Reply #15
19. It's very clear that some don't think we belong in the party
Pissing on our pride parades has become an Olympic sport in these parts, by trolls and people who could not give a shit less about us, obviously they don't because they never come in here except to unzip the pants and do their best R. Kelly impersonations. Sappho forbid we celebrate a bit of good news on the eve of a crucial decision that could make or break a lot of people's lives. God forbid we talk about an issue of import to LGBT people in what is still, despite all evidence to the contrary, an LGBT forum for LGBT people and our issues. That is just going too far.

Same shit, different day.

We're not supposed to talk about it anywhere else, we're not supposed to talk about it here, where the HELL are we supposed to talk about it?

Oh yeah, blogs and boards that actually welcome LGBT people

What a fucking concept
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crim son Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 12:48 AM
Response to Reply #19
22. I understand your anger, emotionally.
Intellectually I can't help but notice that this anger is not productive. I don't intend to be critical, but this isn't a Dem vs. Repuke issue. This is a human rights issue and there is no middle ground. Ignore the detractors and force the issue, is my thought, hope and action. It has always been disturbing to hear people shoot down a wonderful proposition with this comment, "It doesn't go far enough." Fuck, man. It's a step in the right direction. Let's cast it in stone and take another pace forward.

I am hopeful, Chovexani. I am surrounded by young people and they have a different mindset than the older generation. Make it news, make it mainstream, and we will see change. (That's my daughter, speaking to me today). :hug:
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Chovexani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 01:51 AM
Response to Reply #22
25. With all due respect
Edited on Tue May-26-09 01:56 AM by Chovexani
You don't have the slightest conception of my anger.

I'm a queer woman of color living in a country that simultaneously dismisses my very existence and puts my right to live like a human being up to a vote. I see people who look like me, talk like me, sing like me, love like me denigrated, over and over and over and over again to the point where people who fucking KNOW BETTER gloss over the dog whistles and the code and are apologists for it. I am a survivor in a society that continually victimizes me and people like me under the auspices of a bullshit patriarchal cult of bigotry masquerading as religion I saw through at age 10. I've spent weeks--WEEKS--sitting on a sofa with people who share my genetic code and call themselves my family speaking with voices so thick with contempt you could cut it with a knife whenever someone came on TV to say that people like me should be treated fairly. I have to watch my words and my tone if someone at home is in earshot when I'm talking to my "friend" on the phone. I have to listen to her say she loves me and respond with "okay" because otherwise that would mean having the conversation I've been dreading for twelve years and losing every blood relative I have and possibly the roof over my head.

Privilege means you will never, ever know how deep my anger runs, ever.

And if said anger wasn't productive I'd have kept trying to kill myself at age 16 until it took rather than stopping after the third unsuccessful attempt. Trust. Anger is what's kept my deviant ass alive this long, fighting, making art, and living my life. If I ever stop being angry put a bullet in my head because it means I no longer give a damn and it's time to hit the reset button.

This is really the wrong week to be talking to me like this, I'm sorry, I neither desire nor require a slice of hetero-flavored pie in the sky. What the trolls that shit all over threads like this always fail to understand, or don't care to, is this is not about a message board, or yet another petty internet argument, this is about real people's real lives. I know someone that is directly affected by this decision. There are real people, right now, praying that their marriages are not rendered void tomorrow.

So please do not tell me you understand my anger, you don't understand shit and you never will. Privilege means you will never have to.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 01:17 AM
Response to Reply #19
24. We're not going to let them run us off and make us be silent.
Edited on Tue May-26-09 01:24 AM by bluedawg12
Some folks just don't get the endless drip-drip-drip of daily bigotry, from a simple thing that should have been fun and fair and joyous like a young and talented singer actually making it to the top without the obligatory and well documented gay slurs, to the long awaited decision tomorrow in California and a chance to undo a great injustice and wrong.

Sometimes people have to pipe up just to be right. :eyes: It's tedious.

Hang in there, we ain't going no where and we will not be silenced.

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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 04:00 AM
Response to Original message
26. K&R nt
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Wednesdays Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-26-09 09:53 AM
Response to Original message
28. K&R
:kick:
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