Sally Ride’s partner

Amidst all the remembrances of Sally Ride’s accomplishments, one thing that was missed was the shoddy way her partner has been treated.

Unfortunately, Ride’s domestic partner of 27 years Tam O’Shaughnessy, under federal law, will not receive the survivor annuity, death benefits, or Social Security payments that are given to family members of heterosexual astronauts. 

There’s a petition you can sign here.  Obviously, the petition is too limited— it focuses just on Ride’s partner.  But presumably the hope is that calling attention to this case will change the law, thus helping others as well.

(Thanks Jender-Mom!)

3 thoughts on “Sally Ride’s partner

  1. I recommend (and hope readers will read through) the first link above. It seems really to have the right spirit (or several good spirits…) – there is more to it than the title might suggest.

  2. I wonder if the facts on this petition have been cleared with Sally Ride’s partner. It is the only reason I hesitate to sign. What it says about Social Security is true, I believe, but I worry that it could be a little misleading about the other benefits. If no spousal annuity is awarded, then a lump sum benefit is awarded, according to this site about the benefits that employees of NASA get: http://www.opm.gov/retire/pre/death/index.asp In Ride’s case, so long as Ride chose her domestic partner as a beneficiary, her domestic partner would get support upon her death, although it would be as a lump sum rather than as a survivor annuity. That doesn’t mean that the rules are not discriminatory. It is just that I think that there is a great deal of support for this petition, and thus that it would be good for it to be clear on the point of discrimination involved, and it would be nice to know that her partner is okay with the wording of it.

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