Subject: THE LIST: 9/11 Fund Screws Gays
March 11, 2002
Folks, it's 2 in the morning and I've just written this story because my blood is boiling.
One of you out there just notified me that on Sunday morning's "Meet
Kenneth Feinberg, the head of the September 11 Victim's Compensation Fund
(a program of the US Dept. of Justice), is planning on limiting what kind of compensation
goes to gay and lesbian victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. And the way the
rules read, gays and lesbians will probably get nothing. Forget that Mark Bingham,
a gay man, was one of the heroes who brought United Flight 93 down in a field in
Pennsylvania instead of on top of the US Congress, where it was supposedly headed.
And forget that NY Fire Department Chaplain Father Mychal Judge was gay, as was
the copilot of the plane that flew into the Pentagon. No, according to John Ashcroft's
Justice Department, apparently some heroes are more equal than others.
This story is a must read. And pass it along to your friends.
(Also, you'll really want to
check out the story online, as there are a lot of hyperlinks in it to other good content
about this issue, like John McCain's eulogy of Mark Bingham, etc.)
I just cannot express the depth of my anger. It's as though Ashcroft
and the Fund are
suggesting that gay Americans did not suffer as much as everybody else on September 11.
I can tell you that for me at least, watching the Pentagon burn outside my living room
window is an image I won't soon forget - regardless of what John Ashcroft and the
9/11 fund think of me and my patriotism.
Incredibly angrily yours, JOHN
to Discriminate Against Gays
About.com - US Politics
March 11, 2002
by John Aravosis
When Mark Bingham boarded the plane home that September
morning, he had no idea that within hours he would die a hero.
At 10:03 a.m. on the 11th of September, authorities believe the 6-foot-5
rugby player from San Francisco was one of a handful of passengers who
brought United Flight 93 down in a field in Pennsylvania. There were no survivors.
Had Bingham and his fellow travelers not acted, it is thought the plane would have
been flown into the US Congress.
"It is now believed that the terrorists on
Flight 93 intended to crash the airplane
into the United States Capitol where I work, the great house of democracy where
I was that day. It is very possible that I would have been in the building, with a
great many other people, when that fateful, terrible moment occurred, and a
beautiful symbol of our freedom was destroyed along with hundreds if not
thousands of lives. I may very well owe my life to Mark and the others who
summoned the enormous courage and love necessary to deny those depraved,
hateful men their terrible triumph. Such a debt you incur for life."
- (Senator John McCain's eulogy for Mark Bingham, September 22, 2001.)
But on today's six month anniversary of Mark's horrible death, and the
tragedy in decades, Mark Bingham (in addition to other gay heroes of September 11)
is now officially being declared a lesser kind of hero because he was gay.
In an appearance on the Sunday, March 10 broadcast of NBC's "Meet the
Kenneth Feinberg, the head of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
(a fund created by Congress and run by the Department of Justice), said that gay
partners of the heroes of September 11th will not necessarily be eligible for the same
compensation as heterosexual family members who lost their loved ones.
According to Feinberg, lots and lots of people will receive compensation
under the plan,
including children, babies, and even fetuses. And as an indication of how generous the
fund will be, even illegal aliens, who aren't American citizens and who are in the US in
violation of federal law, will receive benefits. Feinberg even says that the Attorney
General has promised that if undocumented aliens come forward, they won't be kicked
out of the country, and their employers won't be penalized. "The attorney general, in
consultation with Immigration, etc., undocumented aliens who come forward, the families
will not suffer any consequences.
They are covered by this program. They will get a check. The employer,
where we need
the economic information about the undocumented alien, will not be penalized," Feinberg told
"Meet the Press."
Yep, the Attorney General is himself willing to overlook US
law so that the victims of September 11 can be compensated.
But when it comes to gay Americans who lost a loved one to Mohammad
Atta and his band
of thieves, that's when Feinberg and the Department of Justice suddenly do an about face:
"[Gays and lesbians are] left out of my program to the extent that their
own state doesn't
include them. I cannot get into a position in this program, which has a one-and-a-half or
two-year life start second-guessing what the state of New York or the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts or the state of Virginia or New Jersey, how they treat same-sex partners,
domestic live-ins, etc. I simply say this: What does your state law say about who is eligible?
If your state law makes you eligible, I will honor state law. If it
doesn't, I go with the state.
Otherwise, Tim, I would find myself getting sued in every state by people claiming that I'm
not following how the state distributes money. I can't get into that local battle. I've got to
rely on state law." - Kenneth Feinberg on NBC's "Meet the Press," March 10, 2002.
That's a long-winded way of saying that if state law discriminates against
gay people, then so
will Feinberg and the 911 Fund. The problem for gay Americans who lost loved ones on
September 11 is that most states do not legally recognize gay relationships, and the very few
that do tend to do so only for state employees, not for citizens at large. And while a handful
of cities do in fact recognize such relationships, under Feinberg's formula, it's the state's law
that counts, not the city's.
So, in the end, pretty much everyone who died - including people who
aren't even American
citizens and were living in the US illegally - will be honored by the September 11th Fund
as deserving of America's special recognition and thanks. The sole exception will be gay and
lesbian Americans, because Feinberg and the 911 Fund wouldn't want to do anything contrary
to US law. (Unless of course it involves an illegal alien who isn't even American - then
apparently it's okay to bend the rules.)
On this six-month anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon,
Kenneth Feinberg and the September 11th Fund are telling the American people that regardless
of whether a gay man was one of the four heroes on United Flight 93 who saved the US Congress
and the White House from utter annihilation, the 911 Fund plans to discriminate against an American
hero because most of the country sanctioned such discrimination prior to September 11.
If September 11 has taught us anything, it's that our patriotism and
love of country transcend our
differences and unite us all. It would be ironic if the generosity of so many Americans in giving to
the September 11th Fund were used to further divide us as a people, and send the message to all
that some American heroes are more equal than others.
Contact information for the September 11 Fund:
202-305-1352 (Direct Dial)
Office of the Attorney General:
The White House: