September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
November 21, 2001
Kenneth L. Zwick, Director
Office of Management Programs, Civil Division
U.S. Department of Justice
Main Building, Room 3140
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Director Zwick:
On behalf of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), representing 50,000 flight attendants at 26 airlines, we are writing to comment on the Department of Justice's November 5 Notice of Inquiry and Advanced Notice of Rulemaking regarding the September 11th Victim Compensating Fund of 2001. AFA represents some of the flight attendants lost onboard aircraft during the attacks of September 11th.
The purpose of the notice is to ask for public comment in the development of any rules established under the program "including, but not limited to, potential beneficiaries of the program, their employers, the legal community, and all those who have come forward to help those impacted."
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is an important program in helping victims and their families recover from the attacks. However, we have concerns that the current proposed statute does not clearly identify that domestic partners in same-sex relationships or non-biological children are eligible to receive compensation from the Fund. We believe that when Congress approved the Fund it was for the purpose of helping all families to recover their economic security and ease the economic difficulties of all survivors. Compensation delivered through the fund must assist all individuals adversely affected by the September 11th attacks without regard to sexual orientation or biological relationship.
At some carriers represented by AFA, domestic partners are included in benefit and survivor
packages. Clearly, companies have recognized the reality of family structures and relationships in today's society. It is important that when implementing the Fund, the Department must also recognize these relationships and provide compensation to individuals that were economically and emotionally dependent on the victim.
In conclusion, while we support the September 11th victim compensation Fund, we believe it is crucial that all surviving family, members, including same-sex partners and non-biological children of those who lost their lives, have access to compensation from the Fund.
Association of Flight Attendants