For the first time in its 52 years, the Peace Corps will implement a change in its policies regarding LGBT people; by including same-sex couples in their applications, gay couples can serve together in countries “where homosexual acts are not criminalized.”
“The Peace Corps will foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples and provide them with guidance for maintaining their safety and well-being,” Press Director Kramer said in an interview with CBS News. “The agency will provide country-specific information to applicants once they are invited to serve, and Peace Corps staff will provide additional information and training once volunteers arrive in-country.”
With the changes, the organization foresees an expansion in application and an increase in competition, according to Peace Corps Deputy Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet.
Founded in 1961 during John F. Kennedy’s presidential run, almost 7 percent of assignments are enlisted by married volunteers overseas.
The organization’s mission statement reads: “To promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.”
Between 1961 and 2013, the organization has had over 210,000 Americans serve in over 139 countries.
Same-sex couples will be able to apply on June 3.