Bush Leaves in Place Clinton ‘Domestic Partners’ Policy at State, ‘Gay’ Paper Reports
Bush Leaves in Place Clinton ‘Domestic Partners’ Policy at State,
‘Gay’ Paper Reports

By Peter J. LaBarbera

The Bush administration is leaving in place a policy enacted in the last days of the Clinton presidency that calls for supporting the "unmarried partners" of U.S. Foreign Service workers, according to a homosexual newspaper.

The Washington Blade reports in its current (April 12) edition that a State Department spokesman "involved in personnel matters said Colin Powell, Bush’s secretary of state, and other high-level officials appointed by Bush," reviewed the pro-homosexual directive by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright "and decided to keep it in place."

Albright’s December 26, 2000, directive - sent to all American diplomatic posts throughout the world - reportedly states:

"I ask all chiefs of mission to ensure that, in compliance with current legislation, State Department practices are fairly and equitably applied in a consistent manner to all members of the households of State Department employees assigned to our overseas missions abroad." She added that such households "include not only spouses and dependent children, but also unmarried partners, aging parents, [and] other relatives or adult children, who fall outside the department’s current legal and statutory definition of family member."

The Blade reports that the Clinton/Albright - and now Bush/Powell - policy directly benefits, among others, Michael Guest, the openly homosexual career Foreign Service officer who Bush appointed last year as Ambassador to Romania. Guest’s homosexual lover lives with him in the U.S. Embassy compound in Bucharest and has accompanied him, like a spouse, to "official embassy functions, including a U.S. Marine Corps ball," according to the newspaper.

Albright’s memo responded to a request by a homosexual employees group, Gays & Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) and the American Foreign Service Association "to clarify the department’s policies pertaining to domestic partners of employees stationed abroad," the Blade reported.

The newspaper quotes GLIFAA President James Theis as praising the Albright memo: "This has definitely improved things... The department is now on record supporting everybody who is part of an employee’s household, including domestic partners."

Although Albright’s memo orders U.S. embassies to obey the law set by Congress, it seems to violate the spirit - if not the letter - of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed by Congress in 1996 and signed into law by President Clinton.

DOMA bars states from being forced to recognize outside "gay marriages" if they are ever legalized, and defines marriage and spouse for government purposes as follows:

Sec. 7. Definition of ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse’
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

The Blade article makes clear that Albright and Clinton sought to go as far as they could in supporting homosexual employees without violating DOMA’s restrictions. Blade reporter Lou Chibbaro Jr. writes:

Theis said GLIFAA initially asked the State Department to simplify the changes by classifying domestic partners of foreign service workers as "eligible family members," a legal term used to define foreign service workers’ spouses and dependent children. Making this change would give domestic partners the identical benefits of spouses. Albright and top State Department officials balked at this proposal, Theis said, saying such a change must be made by an act of Congress, even though some department officials believe the department has the authority to make the change without changing the law. Said Theis: "The department believes it has gone as far as it can under the current law." "I think the State Department can do what Vermont did with ‘civil unions,’" a Republican source on Capitol Hill told Culture & Family Report. "They can’t say Fred is the ‘spouse’ of Paul, but they can go a long way toward giving Fred all the benefits of a spouse." (Vermont’s "civil unions" law grants all the benefits of marriage to homosexuals without the word "marriage.")

Michael Schwartz, Vice President for Government Relations for Concerned Women for America agrees.

"It appears as if the Clinton State Department changed the words to circumvent DOMA," Schwartz said. "They’ve done an end-run around the law, and it’s surprising to see the new administration going along."

According to Blade, Albright may have taken precautions to make her directive seem less controversial:

Theis said that, possibly because of concern that the issue of domestic partner benefits was considered controversial, Albright issued her cable in the form of a clarification of existing policy. She listed the subject of her cable as "Reaffirming existing practices: assisting members of Department of State households accompanying employees overseas."

The newspaper reports the following as among the practical benefits for homosexuals wrought by the directive:

  • "U.S. missions and embassies now routinely provide direct assistance in obtaining residency permits and travel visas to allow domestic partners to reside in the country where the foreign service officer is posted." Prior to the change, homosexual partners had to "fend for themselves," according to the Blade, often by applying for tourist visas for the country where their lover was stationed. The tourist visas can expire in a few months, requiring the person to leave the country and reapply.
  • With official American government help, a "domestic partner has a far greater chance of being granted a visa allowing them to remain in the country as long as their partner-foreign service officer remains in his or her post."
  • "Inclusion in invitations to social events and passes for recreational facilities at U.S. embassies and missions, and access to work permits if granted by the host country."

To voice your opinion on the Bush administration’s acceptance of the Clinton "domestic partner" policy in the State Department, write or call:

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Email: president@whitehouse.gov

Culture and Family Institute,
an affiliate of Concerned Women for America
1015 Fifteenth St. N.W., Suite 1102
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: (202) 289-7117
Fax: (202) 488-0806
E-mail: mail@cultureandfamily.org
Web Site: Culture and Family Institute

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