Sunday, February 8, 2009

Congresswoman Baldwin Requests Equality

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
Read More: On Top Magazine

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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