Michael Guest, the first out gay man to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as an American ambassador, recently retired because of the State Department’s unfair treatment of the partners of gay and lesbian foreign service officers.
During the retirement ceremony to mark his 25-year career in the nation’s diplomatic corps, Guest, 50, cited discriminatory policies as the reason for his departure. According to The New York Times, he said that gay partners, unlike heterosexual spouses, are not entitled to State Department-provided security training, free medical care at overseas posts, guaranteed evacuation in case of a medical emergency, transportation to overseas posts, or special living allowances when foreign service officers are assigned to places like Iraq, where diplomatic families are not permitted.
Guest added that for three years, he urged Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and senior management to redress the policies. He said that his efforts resulted in no changes.