September 11 Email: Body
Thursday, December 20, 2001 9:39 AM
Equal Benefits for Partners
December 20, 2001
Dear Mr. Kenneth Zwick,
I write as a member of Amnesty International, a worldwide human rights
movement committed to ensuring respect for the basic human rights of people
without discrimination, in support of equal access to benefits under the
September 11 Victims Relief Fund for all victims, regardless of sexual
orientation or marital status. As you know, the United States has
committed to uphold international human rights standards, including the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, which prohibit arbitrary discrimination.
As you consider rules for administering the relief fund, I ask that you
apply basic international human rights standards, and the general principle
of equality, by including among relatives eligible for compensation those
who lost their life partners, as well as de facto parents or children,
without regard to sexual orientation or marital status. The State of New
York has already adopted such a policy, granting compensation benefits "on
a showing of mutual interdependence with the victim, in recognition that
anyone who shared with the victim living expenses, day to day activities
and the emotional bonds of family deserves help in this time of need."
Many lesbian and gay people were killed in the September 11th attacks.
Since then, lesbian and gay surviving partners of those killed have had
mixed results in obtaining equal treatment at the local level in the
distribution of relief funds by private and state agencies. An inclusive
policy on the part of the federal government would help establish an
important principle for other such funds. In compensating victims, real
justice will be served only when all families - and all types of families -
impacted by the human rights tragedy of September 11 are treated with
dignity and equality.
Thank you for considering my concerns. I look forward to hearing from you
about your efforts to ensure that all surviving victims of the September 11
attacks have equal access to the relief fund.
September 11 Email: Date
“dojA004206.xml,” September 11 Digital Archive, accessed April 25, 2019, http://911digitalarchive.org/items/show/20998.