even hero gays must remain invisible

It's official! Only those legally part of the heterosexual system can be heroes. Wednesday the House Republican majority killed a bill, passed unanimously in the Senate, which would have extended death benefits to the survivors of gay chaplain Mychal Judge and nine other public safety officers who died during the attacks on September 11. The ten are the only public-safety officers killed in the attacks who have no "immediate family."

Under current law, only parents, spouses or children of public-safety officers who died in the Sept. 11 attacks are eligible to receive the standard $250,000 in federal death benefits.

Sources said the measure was shelved because of some lawmakers' concerns over the potential cost due to its precedent-setting nature, while others objected to the bill's recognition of the victims' "domestic partners."

George Burke, of the International Association of Firefighters, said it was an outrage to deny "recognition for fallen heroes."

"We're very frustrated here. We're very angry," said William Johnson, the executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations.

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Published on May 27, 2002 9:35 PM.

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