Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Anti-GLBT bias is driving good people from public service

The following letter from Joe Solmonese was sent out in an email to members of the Human Rights Campaign and was posted on Political Wrinkles.

Anti-GLBT bias is driving good people from public service

Michael Guest, a well-respected and committed public servant, had risen to a top position in the Foreign Service. The first openly gay American to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate as an overseas Ambassador, Guest left his prestigious post – and the career he loved – because of the State Department's second-class treatment of his partner.

Our nation has lost countless talented public servants like Michael because it doesn't give their same-sex partners equal benefits and protections.

But there's a bill in Congress that would help our government catch up to the private sector – and make sure GLBT Americans can serve their country proudly, at home and abroad.

Click here to tell Congress to pass the bill that would give equal benefits to its employees' domestic partners. Take Action: Partnership benefits NOW for GLBT public servants!

For Michael Guest, it wasn't just the basic indignities, like the government's insistence that he and his partner pack for Romania in separate suitcases. The discrimination he experienced extended to graver matters: even in the immediate wake of 9/11, Guest's partner was unable to receive security training (to know how to recognize a terrorist threat or intelligence trap). Nor was he entitled to evacuation in the event of hostilities.

Upon his retirement from the Foreign Service in December, Michael lamented being forced to choose between his family and service to his country. "That anyone should have to make that choice," he said, "is a stain on...[our] leadership and a shame for this institution and our country."

Erasing that stain would be both the right thing and the smart thing to do. Nearly 10,000 private companies, including more than half of the Fortune 500, offer benefits to their employees' domestic partners. Because they know that it helps them compete for the most talented and qualified employees.

The business community gets it; why doesn't our government?

Tell your elected leaders that patriotic GLBT Americans demand no more for their families than the basic benefits and protections afforded to different-sex spouses.

Send a strong message to your lawmakers to support and co-sponsor the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act. Your Members of Congress are federal employees too. Ask them if it would be fair if their families couldn't get basic benefits and protections.

Congress will respond once there is a groundswell of support. So spread the word. Tell your friends about this critically important bill, and ask them to join you in the fight for domestic partnership rights.

Joe Solmonese


Anonymous said...

How much of State's attitude to GLBT is from US culture,

compared with not wanting to offend other countries, which tend to be much more anti GLBT than the US?

Digger said...

I suspect it is primarily related to U.S. attitudes, since the department has a history of making statements about U.S. values that run contrary to the views of other countries (i.e. placing African American ambassadors in apartaid South Africa).

Stellewriter said...

government service , and as a Transsexual was driven from my workings the the Federal Governement as well. However, I do take exception to commentator's stance. Was not this the same individual who partnered with Barney Frank to exclude Transgender from Congressional action and inclusion within ENDA? Was this not the same person who exercised the same bigoted stance that marked the similar racist laws of inequality towards Blacks decades earlier.

Somehow I do not, nor can, accept HRC as having any sincere sense of equality or justice when they themselves have been party to denial and exclusion. It is double talk and HRC is dangerous, and not to be trusted. The fractured ground swell has been shown to Congress and they now will not engage as they see it not profitable to get involved.

An opinion.