Astronaut and physicist Sally Ride passed away this week, her partner to receive NO federal benefits (UPDATED)

THIS is how we treat our heroes?

Astronaut and Stanford physicist Sally Ride passed away this week from pancreatic cancer. She was the first woman American* and the youngest American of either gender to travel into space. My family has a small but important (to us) connection with Dr. Ride. When my daughter was in grade school, she had a project where they dressed as their heroes and, during an open house, played the role of their hero, answering questions and chatting with the parents that visited. My daughter was there, dressed in a blue jumpsuit and sporting my motorcycle helmet, a third grade astronaut. Her picture even ended up in the local newspaper.

When Dr. Ride, a lesbian, passed away this week, she left behind her partner of 27 years, Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy. Because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), O’Shaughnessy will receive no federal benefits, benefits she would receive if she were a man. Despite their life-long partnership, she is treated as if she were just an acquaintance.

The two met when they were 12 years old.

Read more ›