Gay partners of US diplomats stationed overseas are to receive equal benefits in plans unveiled by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Howard Berman, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had asked the State Committee to ensure benefits such as medical care, transport between postings and security training were offered to same-sex partners.

In a hearing on funding for the Foreign Service, he said: “It is my expectation, based on very recent conversations, that the Secretary of State will move forward with implementing all of the benefits provided in that provision in the very near future.”

Michael Guest, a former US ambassador to Romania, spoke at the hearing.

He left the Foreign Service in 2007, citing unfair treatment of his partner.

Berman said: “For 26 years he served our country with distinction and was sadly forced to leave the Foreign Service when he could no longer accept the second-class status accorded his lifetime partner.

“But I am heartened that soon no more of our best and brightest will be forced to choose between family and country.”