Thursday, July 03, 2008

Final Response to the Baldwin Letter

I have been admittedly lax in posting lately. Blame it on senioritis...I'm finishing up my tour, preparing to start my bridge assignment, and still entertaining fantasies of leaving the service and moving back South. I got this response from L to Rep. Tammy Baldwin's letter last week, but I am only just now getting around to reposting it.

The letter is admittedly a little more forward leaning than the last response. Still, the last paragraph is a bit annoying in its almost chiding tone. We are all aware that MOHs include more than just same-sex partners. But in a fair world, same-sex partners would be treated like married spouses. But even those legally married in Massachusetts or California still are not.

Here is the letter:

Dear Ms. Balwin,

Thank you for your letter of May 7 regarding the Department's treatment of gay and lesbian Foreign Service officers.

The Department believes that treatment of Members of Household (MOH) is a matter of great importance. We are currently examining initiatives that would address some of your concerns, taking into account statutory and procedural requirements and any resource considerations. We will keep you informed of our progress in this regard.

Please note that MOH concerns are not limited to the Department's treatment of same sex partners. This is a much broader issue that could affect many Department empluyees, as well as those of other agencies with personnel stationed abroad. Members of Household include all unmarried partners, parents, children, and even siblings who, despite being adults, are reliant on our Foreign Service members to comprise their households. Any change to our regulations must take into account this broader picture.

We hope that this information has been helpful to you. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance.

Jeffrey T. Bergner
Legislative Affairs

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