The new Secretary of State sat down with Michelle Schohn, president of Gays & Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies on Friday as part of her ‘getting-to-know-you’ tour of the State Department. The meeting was brief, and was just one of nine affinity groups that she met with that day. Schohn said that Clinton seemed “generally interested in what we had to say”, which is a nice way of saying, “No promises were made.” What do gays & lesbians at State want?
The Washington Blade explains that while members of the foreign service can be reimbursed for moving their cat overseas, the same doesn’t apply for gay and lesbian partners:
“Unlike the spouses of straight Foreign Service officers, the partners of gay Foreign Service officers are not included in travel orders, not eligible for federal health care insurance, not entitled to emergency evacuation and not eligible for more than basic language training.
While the State Department covers various travel expenses for officials moving overseas, including the cost of moving a pet, the department doesn’t reimburse travel costs for a partner.
When Clinton was asked about gay employees during her confirmation hearing earlier this month, she said she would “take a hard look at existing policy,” and that her “understanding is other nations have moved to extend that partnership benefit.”
Earlier this week, GLIFAA delivered a letter to Clinton signed by more than 2,000 government workers urging her to address the discrepancies between how the State Department treats gay and straight employees.
Schohn said she asked Clinton whether she had received the letter, and Clinton confirmed that she did.”