- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 21, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Peace Corps says it will begin accepting applications from same-sex domestic partners who want to serve together as volunteers overseas.

Peace Corps Deputy Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said the change will diversify the pool of applicants who want to help improve the quality of education, health care and economic development in host countries around the world.

Married couples have been serving together in the Peace Corps since the organization was founded in 1961. About 7 percent of overseas assignments currently are filled by married volunteers who serve together.

Same-sex couples who want to serve together will be required to sign an affidavit verifying their relationship.

There are more than 8,000 Peace Corps volunteers currently working in 76 countries in development programs as varied as HIV-AIDS education or information technology.

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