BY Kerry Eleveld
December 14 2009 12:45 AM ET
To date, Polis has not reimbursed the Department of Defense for the $1,140.40. Though Branton said DOD has yet to officially wave the fee, the department is not aggressively seeking the funds.
to a spokesman for the speaker’s office, Nancy Pelosi has had an
ongoing dialogue about the issue with DOD ever she first became House speaker in 2007.
“She made a request of the Defense Department
to treat any spouse of a lesbian or gay member of Congress the same as
any congressional spouse. That means a domestic partner would be
treated just as a congressional spouse,” said Drew Hammill. “That in
effect, has been our understanding and what we've been told will take
A Department of Defense official said congressional
spouses are authorized to travel with a member for protocol purposes
when stated in the committee or leadership authorization letter to the secretary of Defense. Who is in included in that authorization letter
is up to the speaker’s office, according to the DOD.
As for Reis, he
is holding on to his Congressional Spouse ID, which expires in February
of 2011, a little more tightly. Not long ago, he misplaced it and
Branton was told by Member Services that they had issued it in error
and would have to replace it with a Designee ID, which is the
classification reserved for unmarried partners of members of Congress.
Marlon ended up finding it,” said Branton. “While the difference is
just one word on an ID, it speaks volumes about Congress’s
unwillingness to fully and equitably recognize the relationships of gay
men and women.”
A Designee ID is what Representative Baldwin’s partner,
Azar, carries. When Reis bumped into her at an event earlier this year,
he produced his Spouse ID to her amazement.
“She said, ‘Oh, my
gosh, I can’t believe you got that,’” he recalled. “If I had known how
important it was to hold on to this, I might have been more ginger in
producing it every time I’ve been asked to show ID.”
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