Thursday, July 8, 2010

Grading the government

The Bay Area Reporter is the gay newspaper of San Francisco area (which I picked up while on vacation there). It has an article in the June 24 edition that grades the various federal departments on their LGBT efforts.

* Department of State got a B for providing matching benefits to gay partners of foreign service employees, for changing rules on passports for gay couples and transgender people, and for taking a stand on the anti-gay mess in Uganda and Malawi. However, they don't provide health care and retirement benefits.

* Housing and Urban Development gets a B for applying housing and mortgage non-discrimination policies to gays.

* Department of Commerce gets a B for new policies that keep same sex marriage data in the census.

* Health and Human Services gets a C. On the good side they will provide a resource for aging gays and have ended the ban on HIV/AIDS travel. Alas, they continue to fund anti-gay religious based family counseling centers and have kept the ban on blood donation by gay men who have active sex lives.

* Office of Personnel Management gets a C. The head is John Berry, a gay man, who has added LGBTs to the Equal Employment Opportunity policy. Alas, he has also ordered an insurance company to not add the partner of a lesbian to the department insurance plan, even after the 9th Circuit Court said he must.

* Department of Defense gets a D for the mess over the gay military ban.

* Department of Justice gets a D for filing various anti-gay briefs before federal courts with the weak rationalization that it's the law so we have to defend it.

* Department of Education gets a D for doing little to prevent bullying even though Kevin Jennings, a gay man, is the head of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.

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