US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to announce a policy shift that will allow gay diplomats to be eligible for the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts.

The families of gay diplomats will now receive benefits such as paid travel to and from overseas posts, employment opportunities at the embassy, visas and diplomatic passports, mail privileges and evacuation in case of a security emergency or medical necessity.

Clinton said in a memo to the Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies organisation that discrimination between same-sex couples was “unfair and must end,” not just because it’s morally wrong, but that “providing training, medical care and other benefits to domestic partners promote the cohesiveness, safety and effectiveness of our posts abroad”.

“It will also help the department attract and retain personnel in a competitive environment where domestic partner benefits and allowances are increasingly the norm for world-class employers. At bottom, the department will provide these benefits for both opposite-sex and same-sex domestic partners because it is the right thing to do,” she wrote.

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