Posts Tagged ‘secretary’

New Rules Make It Harder To Discharge Gay Military

Washington DC – An announcment today by Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that the Pentagon is enacting new rules that make it much more difficult to discharge people in the military due to sexual orientation.

This new temporary guideline would  raise the standard required for evidence to be presented in cases, design to prevent outings by a third party or jilted partner.  It also provides that any information gathered during medical exams or security reviews cannot be used. Secretary Gates also said that level of rank required to initiate action or to take formal action against a service member would be raised.

The part of the press conference that caught my ear was Mr. Gates talking about the review being done currently of service members and their families (scheduled to be finished at the end of the year). Mr. Gates stressed that the review is not to determine whether or not to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but rather what is the best way to do it.

According to the NY Times, in 2009 there were 438 service members discharged under DADT.

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CLINTON v CLINTON, The Gay Fight

clintonNewly appointed Secretary of State has already got her handsbill full. It seems her first order of business is deciding whether or not to fix aging State Department rules that do not provide benefits past “member of household.”

Currently, the State department does not offer most benefits that straight spouses are afforded. Including training for accompanying partners who are diplomats headed overseas, emergency evacuations, or access to medical services.

The biggest group of the lobbyists for these changes is being led by Wisconsin Congresswoman (and Out lesbian) Tammy Baldwin. She has put a coalition together of two other Democratic Congressmen, and Republican representative Ileana Ros-Lentinen from Florida, who have sent an extensive letter to Mrs. Clinton.

Unfortunately for Secretary Clinton, although she has lobbied hard for these rights in the past, including in her speech this year at the DNC, the biggest obstacle standing in her way is DOMA, which defines marriage as one man and one woman (at least in federal agencies).

So although she would like to push full steam-ahead with these basic rights, Hillary asked the State employees to be patient as Doma will not be easy to overcome. Who signed that bill? Oh yeah, her husband.