Peace Corps to allow gay couples to volunteer together

The volunteer program announced the new policy on Tuesday

Published May 21, 2013 9:02PM (EDT)

Do-gooders, rejoice: The Peace Corps announced on Tuesday that it would allow gay couples to serve together as overseas volunteers beginning in June. The volunteer program previously only allowed straight married couples to apply for joint service, but the option will now be available to domestic partners, as well.

"Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining leadership experience for Americans who want to make a difference around the world," Peace Corps Deputy Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said in a statement. "I am proud that the agency is taking this important step forward to allow same-sex domestic partners to serve overseas together."

News of the reform comes only weeks after Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced the Peace Corps Equity Act, a measure to extend insurance coverage to Peace Corps volunteers for abortions in instances of rape. As Salon's Irin Carmon notes, the Peace Corps is currently the only federal agency that doesn't have insurance coverage for rape survivors seeking abortion care.


By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Abortion Abortion Care Congress Domestic Partnerships Gay Marriage Gay Rights Peace Corp