Thursday, June 3, 2010

White House Announces Further Benefits for Same-Sex Partners of Federal Employees

Welcomed changes are also glaring reminders of lack of equality


WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – today commended the announcement by the White House that federal agencies will provide additional benefits to same-sex couples to the extent allowed under current statutory restrictions. Some of the benefits announced today were part of HRC’s Blueprint for Positive Change, a document recommending policy changes that could be made by the administration to better the lives of LGBT people. More at:

“All employees should be treated equally and without discrimination, whether they are straight or LGBT and this is certainly a positive step in that direction,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “The limitations of these new benefits however serve as a glaring reminder that the Defense of Marriage Act ultimately stands in the way of providing true equality to LGBT Americans.”

The so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevents the federal government from recognizing and extending benefits to lawfully married same-sex couples. As a result, same-sex partners of federal employees are denied important benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans. The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, a bill currently before Congress, would extend these basic protections to federal employees with a same-sex partner.

“We welcome the President’s renewed call to pass the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act and call on Congress to pass it swiftly,” said Solmonese. “When a majority of the Fortune 500 offer equal benefits, it should be a no-brainer that the federal government catch up.”

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