Sunday, May 24, 2009

Correcting the Press on the leaked letter

It is all over the media now that the letter leaked to the Advocate is legitimate and means that same-sex partners will take a major step forward in terms of receiving equal treatment with their heterosexual colleagues.

All of the major media outlets have covered it, including:

CNN: Benefits proposed for same-sex partners of U.S. diplomats

NYTimes: Diplomats’ Same-Sex Partners to Get Benefits

and the Washington Post: State Dept. Plan Would Extend Benefits to Same Sex Partners

All of this coverage is excellent and I sincerely hope that the letter is released officially and that the promises made in this letter are kept.

But all of these reports make several errors.

First, these benefits are for all declared domestic partners and their children. Same-sex or opposite-sex. The letter clearly states this.

Second, this is NOT full equality. It does address everything that the Secretary can do on her own. But it does not address health insurance, and issue of major concern, not pensions, just to name two issues. While this would be a major step forward, there is still much work to be done. But most of that work will now be in the hands of OPM and Congress. The Secretary, if she implements these measures, will have kept faith with those in the LGBT community who have always supported her.

Finally, there is a major error in who released the letter. No member of the GLIFAA board received this letter or any memo before it appeared in the press. No member of the GLIFAA board even saw this letter before it appeared in the Advocate. Those claims, started by the Associated Press and picked up by most major media, are simply false.

I don't know who leaked it nor what their intentions were. I hope they were good, but you can never really be certain. I hope there is no backlash. And mostly, I hope they implement these changes and finally begin to address the inequities facing LGBT Foreign Service Families who are dedicating their lives to the service of our country.

It does make me even prouder to serve.

1 comment:

voice of reason said...

Thank you Digger. The first thing I did when I came back from my Memorial Day weekend vacation was to check your blog for your commentary on the leaked letter. Thanks for setting things straight.