The Advocate has obtained a draft of a letter from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to employees of the State Department that details her intentions to extend certain benefits to same-sex partners of foreign service officers posted abroad.
â€œHistorically, domestic partners of Foreign Service members have not been provided the same training, benefits, allowances, and protections that other family members receive. These inequities are unfair and must end. Providing training, medical care, and other benefits to domestic partners promote the cohesiveness, safety, and effectiveness of our posts abroad,”says the letter.
The letter explains that the department will be”exercising its inherent authority to change its regulations in the Foreign Affairs Manual and Department of State Standardized Regulations”in order to allow domestic partners of foreign service personnel to qualify as family members.”Where appropriate, this extension of benefits and allowances will apply to the children of domestic partners as well.”
Providing these benefits to all employees, notes the letter, will help the department”attract and retain personnel in a competitive environment where domestic partner benefits and allowances are increasingly the norm for world-class employers. 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.”
The letter appears to be the culmination of Secretary Clinton’s work with LGBT employee groups at the State Department. A source familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the letter was drafted by senior officials at the department and represents the secretary’s thinking on the issue. The letter currently awaits final approval from senior government lawyers.â€¨ …