Obama extends some domestic partner benefits to federal employees

Well, incrementalism pays off for some federal employees. They can still get sick and die without health insurance, but at least their partners can visit them in the hospital.

Today President Obama signed a presidential memorandum extending more benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees: family assistance services, hardship transfers, relocation expenses.  In addition the memorandum requires federal departments and agencies to extend to same sex partners any new benefits to employees’ opposite-sex spouses “to the extent permitted by law.”

The president said in a statement that he “continues to be prevented by existing Federal law from providing same-sex domestic partners with the full range of benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.  That is why, today, I renew my call for swift passage of an important piece of legislation pending in both Houses of Congress—the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act” which “would extend to the same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees the full range of benefits currently enjoyed by Federal employees’ opposite-sex spouses.”

Does the “my hands are tied” sound familiar?  If we accept this justification on a local level, of course it legitimizes it on a federal level.




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