A Belated "Screw You" from the Clinton Administration

By Mark Trodden | October 18, 2006 8:01 pm

After almost six years of living under the worst president in U.S. history, and facing, on a daily basis, the ignorance and bigotry that arises in part from the pact that Republicans have made with the religious right, it is easy to blame all our ills on the excuses for leaders who run this country.

However, I’m reminded today that disgusting retrograde policies are not solely the domain of the Republicans. As reported in The Washington Post;

The federal government has refused to pay death benefits to the spouse of former congressman Gerry E. Studds (D-Mass.), the first openly gay member of Congress.

Studds married Dean Hara in 2004 after same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts. But Hara will not be eligible to receive any portion of Studds’s estimated $114,337 annual pension …

And why won’t this man’s life partner be able to receive benefits?

because the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act bars the federal government from recognizing Studds’s marriage.

[…]

Under federal law, pensions can be denied only to lawmakers’ same-sex partners and to people convicted of espionage or treason, Graves said.

That’s right – thanks to the Clinton administration, this basic right of partnership can be denied only if the person involved is a spy, a traitor or, that equally heinous threat to the American way of life, gay!

So if I interpret this correctly, a member of Congress could be shot dead by police while stabbing a baby, and his opposite-sex partner would be eligible for the pension, but if he dies while on a quiet walk, his same sex partner isn’t eligible. Ain’t it great?

It should make us all sick.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Human Rights, Politics
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About Mark Trodden

Mark Trodden holds the Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Endowed Chair in Physics and is co-director of the Center for Particle Cosmology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a theoretical physicist working on particle physics and gravity— in particular on the roles they play in the evolution and structure of the universe. When asked for a short phrase to describe his research area, he says he is a particle cosmologist.

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