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View Diary: Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday (256 comments)

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  •  Cheers to the Peace Corps... (13+ / 0-)
    Washington, D.C., May 21, 2013 – Peace Corps Deputy Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet today announced that the agency will begin accepting applications from same-sex domestic partners who want to serve together as volunteers overseas.  Same-sex couples may begin the application process starting Monday, June 3.

    I worked at Peace Corps HQ placement office from 2001 to 2006 (with brief hiatus in 2005 to volunteer in Sri Lanka after the Indian Ocian tsunami).  We would place married couples together if they have the skill sets necessary for the community that would request them.  At the time (2001-2004), no states had a marriage equality law in place, so we never had to officially deal with placing same-sex couples who wanted to serve as volunteers together. *

    Even when civil unions were made legal in Vermont, in 2000 (thank you Howard Dean), Vermont couples civilly unioned could not apply as a couple, as they were not legally married.

    The next shoe to drop was when Massachusetts legalized civil marriage.  At that time, we were expressly told by the legal counsel then that no married same-sex couple could serve as volunteers in a couples assignment (these two people could apply separately, but they couldn't be guaranteed to serve together).  The chief legal officer at the time was a Bush appointee, and made it very clear about this point.  And he argued that DOMA expressly prohibited same-sex married couples from serving as volunteers.

    It seems that this announcement also includes legal domestic partners from those states that haven't codified marriage equality (such as Oregon or New Jersey), but do allow domestic partnerships or civil unions.

    I also take this as a very good sign that the Peace Corps (at least) anticipates that the Supreme Court wil overturn DOMA.  It takes several months to 18 months for applicants to receive an assignment, so even if the court waits until August or September to announce its decision, these applicants will be going though the application pipeline.

    * it is possible that some recruiters and some placement officers might have managed to place couples together, in coordination with country offices.   But that didn't come from me.

    "Less regulation is the key to the economic miracle of Texas." - Gov. Rick Perry... and then less regulation exploded...

    by Khun David on Wed May 22, 2013 at 06:43:24 AM PDT

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