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|White House invites lesbians to State of the Union address|
|Written by Ryan Watkins|
|Tuesday, 24 January 2012 14:26|
Loreliei Kilker, an analytical chemist from Brighton, Co., and Colonel Ginger Wallace, an Air Force intelligence officer, will join First Lady Michelle Obama tonight during President Barack Obama's annual State of the Union address as guests of the First Family, according to the White House.
Presidents often highlight the personal stories from guests sitting with the first lady.
Kilker was awarded a monetary settlement after an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation found systemic sex discrimination at her previous employment.
Wallace and her partner, Kathy Knoph, participated together in Wallace's recent promotion ceremony, the first promotion ceremony featuring a same-sex couple after the repeal of the military's “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy.
Obama is expected to highlight his administration's role in the repeal of DADT, passing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and overturning the HIV Travel Ban. Some gay rights activists, however, hope the president issues a call for marriage equality through support of the Respect for Marriage Act, a law that would overturn the federal ban on same-sex marriage recognition.
Here are the official bios for Kilker and Wallace from the White House:
Lorelei Kilker is an analytical chemist for an environmental laboratory, and lives in Brighton, Colorado with her domestic partner and their two children.
In October of 2011, Ms. Kilker was one of a class of women who benefitted from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) investigation of alleged systematic sex discrimination at her former employer that resulted in the award of back wages and significant remedial relief, arrangements that were achieved through a cooperative process between the employer and EEOC.
Since the creation of the President’s Equal Pay Task Force in January 2010, EEOC obtained almost $50 million in monetary relief through administrative enforcement for victims of sex-based wage discrimination, obtained changes to workplace practices that benefit over one quarter of a million workers, and filed five cases including sex-based wage discrimination claims.
Colonel Ginger Wallace, USAF
Colonel Ginger Wallace is an Air Force intelligence officer who has led airlift and intelligence operations during Operations Southern Watch, Provide Relief, Uphold Democracy, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. She currently lives in McLean, Virginia with her partner of over a decade, Kathy Knopf.
In December, Ms. Knopf attended Col. Wallace’s promotion ceremony and participated in the “pinning on” of Col. Wallace’s rank, marking the first such event reported following the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”
Col. Wallace is currently training to deploy to Afghanistan in the Spring 2012 through the Afghanistan-Pakistan Hands program.
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