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Congresswoman Baldwin Requests Equality

By Charlotte Robinson, February 08, 2009
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to address inequities in employment practices concerning gay & lesbian State Department employees & to take remedial action. Listen to Congresswoman Baldwin discuss this breaking story @ OUTTAKE VOICES™
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In a letter sent to Clinton, Baldwin, joined by Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) & Ron Wyden (D-OR), & Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), wrote:

“The lack of equitable treatment could force dedicated, intelligent, & needed FSOs (Foreign Service Officers) & officials to make an unfortunate choice between serving their country & protecting their families. As you noted during the question & answer session of your Senate Foreign Relations confirmation hearing, many other nations now extend training, protection, & benefits to the partners of LGBT employees. Further, the State Department’s past inattention to these disparities places it below parity with the best employment practices used in the private sector, where the majority of Fortune 500 companies extend employee benefit programs to cover the domestic partners. Without remedying these inequities, the State Department may fail to attract and retain qualified personnel.”

Baldwin & her colleagues asked Secretary Clinton to institute, among other things, the following changes in State Department policy regarding Foreign Service Officers (FSOs):

Inclusion in travel orders for same-sex domestic partners of FSOs

Access to training, including all language classes, area studies, & embassy effectiveness classes for same-sex domestic partners of FSOs

Emergency evacuation & medevac from post when necessary for same-sex domestic partners of FSOs

Access to post health units for same-sex domestic partners of FSOs

Visa support for same-sex domestic partners accompanying FSOs to overseas postings, & for same-sex foreign-born domestic partners accompanying FSOs to postings in Washington or elsewhere in the U.S.

Preferential status for employment at post comparable to that enjoyed by Eligible Family Members (EFMs) for same-sex domestic partners of FSOs

Citing Secretary Clinton’s pledge during her confirmation hearing to examine current policies relating to lesbian & gay employees at the State Department, Baldwin & her colleagues wrote: “As you work to advance America’s national security & exemplify this great country’s values around the world, we hope you will follow through on this pledge and also work to fully support your diverse workforce.” Updates to Come......Check-OUT OUTTAKE VOICES™ & listen to Congresswoman Baldwin discuss this breaking story....
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