The White House Press Office sent this section of the fiscal year 2011 budget to me to pass on for your perusal —Expanding Opportunities for the LGBT Community. The details. I look forward to your comments…

Expanding Opportunities for the LGBT Community

Having steered the economy back from the brink of a depression, the Administration is committed to moving the Nation from recession to recovery by sparking job creation to get millions of Americans back to work and building a new foundation for the long-term prosperity for all American families. To do this, the 2011 Budget makes critical investments in the key areas that will help to reverse the decline in economic security that American families have experienced over the past decade with investments in education, clean energy, infrastructure, and innovation.

But even as we meet the challenge of the recession and work to build an economy that works for all American families, we must also change the way Washington does business – ending programs that don’t work, streamlining those that do, cracking down on special interest access, and bringing a new responsibility to how tax dollars are spent. The President’s Budget takes the steps to help jumpstart job creation, works to strengthen the economic security of American families, and makes the tough choices to put our Nation back on the path to fiscal responsibility.

To support the needs of the LGBT community, the Budget will:

Strengthen Anti-Discrimination Efforts. To strengthen civil rights protections for all citizens, the Budget includes a 11 percent increase in funding to Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. This investment will help the Division handle implementation of a historic new hate crimes law, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Support Federal Employee Domestic Partner Benefits. The Administration supports the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009, which provides the same benefits to same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees as those provided to married heterosexual partners of Federal employees. These benefits include health insurance, survivor annuities, compensation for work-related injuries, travel and relocation benefits, life insurance, and vision and dental benefits.

Expand and Focus HIV/AIDS Treatment, Care, and Prevention Activities. The Budget expands access to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment activities consistent with the President’s pledge to develop a National HIV/AIDS Strategy that will focus on reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related health disparities. It focuses HIV testing among high-risk groups, including gay and bisexual men, African Americans, and Hispanics. The Budget also includes specific appropriations for new HIV prevention programs. The Budget increases resources for the Ryan White program to support the care and treatment needs for an estimated 10,000 additional persons living with HIV/AIDS who are unable to afford health care and related support services, and directs resources to reduce HIV-related health disparities by expanding HIV/AIDS medical services within populations disproportionately impacted by the epidemic. Finally, the Budget enhances funding for collaboration and integration activities to improve overall health outcomes for those with HIV/AIDS and co-infections with tuberculosis, hepatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Execute a National AIDS Awareness Campaign. The President’s budget continues a 5-year, $45 million dollar, multi-faceted “Act Against AIDS” campaign launched April 2009. The campaign will be driven by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) with the goal of reducing HIV incidence in the United States. The first phase of the campaign seeks to counter complacency about HIV/AIDS through online, transit, and radio ads. In an effort to more effectively reach and educate African-Americans about HIV/AIDS, CDC has developed partnerships with 14 African-American civic organizations that will integrate HIV prevention into each of their existing outreach programs. CDC will also partner with the Kaiser Family Foundation to establish a coalition of entertainment, print, online, and other media organizations that will place campaign ads in support of the “Act Against AIDS” campaign.

Support a Fair and Accurate 2010 Census. For the first time, the Census Bureau will be releasing counts of same-sex marriages reported on the relationship question from the decennial census short-form. In previous decennial censuses, the Census Bureau re-coded any individual who reported being in a marriage with someone of the same sex. Under this new policy, in 2011 the Census Bureau will make available to researchers and the public the unedited (that is, not recoded) data on same-sex marriages. Following that, the Census Bureau will release a special report on what the unedited data reveals about measuring same-sex marriages. Concurrently, the Census Bureau, working with the Office of Management and Budget, will be engaged in an inter-agency process to develop recommendations for how all Federal statistical agencies can better measure marriages and other family relationships. The Budget provides $1.3 billion to the Census Bureau to process, tabulate, and release 2010 Census data, conduct extensive evaluations of the census, improve the data collection methods of the American Community Survey, and begin a continuous update process of the Census Bureau’s geospatial and address data, which is expected to produce long-run cost savings.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding