CCLP Senior Fellow Jeremy Curtin was presented with the Equality Award yesterday, an annual award given by Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA), by Cheryl Mills, Counselor and Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The award honors Curtin for his assistance in the implementation of Secretary Clinton’s policy that extends benefits to the partners of Foreign Service employees. This policy serves as a specific application of President Obama’s policy, which more broadly offers benefits to the partners of federal employees.
Secretary Clinton’s policy provides partners of Foreign Service employees with U.S. diplomatic passports, access to medical care and housing and other benefits while employees are assigned overseas. It also allows partners who are not U.S. citizens to reside with the employees on assignment in the United States. The benefits have already proved tremendously helpful.
“It’s made a big difference to our employees who have same-sex domestic partners,” Curtin said. “The goal is to treat all our employees and members of their families equitably.”
Curtin, who had no previous history of working with LGBT issues, feels fortunate to be able to contribute to an important State Department goal that has had a significant impact in the lives of many gay and lesbian Foreign Service employees and their partners.
“In my point of view, the secretary made the policy — I’m just in the position to help execute it,” Curtin said.
Curtin will continue to aid in facilitating the policy, though he claims it’s in pretty good shape. As for right now, Curtin is simply appreciative of the honor.
“It is satisfying to get an award for something that is a high-policy priority,” Curtin said.