Hillary Clinton says gays, lesbian terrorist survivors deserve same benefits as other families

Sunday, October 7th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The surviving partners of gay and lesbian victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks should get the same assistance and benefits that the families of other victims get, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., said Saturday night.

Clinton, addressing an audience of gay and lesbian activists, said that in the aftermath of the attacks, ``we have to make clear that what we're fighting for is our values.''

And that includes ending ``discrimination against gays and lesbians once and for all,'' she said.

Clinton was the keynote speaker at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay and lesbian political advocacy group in the country with some 250,000 members.

Recently, the Rev. Louis Sheldon, chairman and founder of the Traditional Values Coalition, said public and private relief agencies providing assistance to survivors of the terror attacks should not give aid to surviving members of gay partnerships.

Clinton made no mention of Sheldon by name, but she declared that ``domestic partners should enjoy the same benefits afforded other couples.''

That includes the same health insurance, inheritance, property taxes and other assistance, she said.

The terrorist attacks hung over the dinner and were alluded to repeatedly. ``The attacks on our country were the extreme examples of a hate crime,'' Clinton said.

The domestic partners of three of the victims were recognized at the gathering: Tom Hay, the partner of David Charlebois, the co-pilot of the airliner that crashed into the Pentagon; Nancy Walsh, the partner of Carol Flyzik, a passenger aboard one of the jetliners that crashed into the World Trade Center; and Mike Lyons, the partner of Jack Keohane, who worked near the World Trade Center in New York and was killed as the buildings collapsed.