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Federal Domestic Partnership Benefit Bill Reintroduced

Federal Domestic Partnership Benefit Bill Reintroduced

 

Lawmakers on Friday reintroduced legislation that would enable the U.S. federal government to give domestic partner benefits to federal employees in same-sex relationships.

Currently the government is banned from conferring these rights per restrictions in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act which prevents the government from recognizing same-sex unions.

Introduced in the House by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, and in the Senate by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) alongside Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act would allow the government to offer a range of rights federal workers in same-sex relationships are currently denied, including many health and pension benefits.

Via the Senate press release:

“This legislation is the next step to achieving equity for the gay community,” Lieberman said. “We repealed the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy in the military because we want the best men and women America has to offer to defend our country. The same is true for federal employees: we want to attract the best men and women possible to serve in federal government. One way to do that is by offering competitive benefits to the family members of gay federal employees. This legislation makes good economic sense. It is sound policy. And it is the right thing to do.”

Collins said: “This change is both fair policy and good business practice. The federal government must compete with the private sector when it comes to attracting the most qualified, skilled, and dedicated employees. Today, health, medical, and other benefits are a major component of any competitive employment package.  Indeed, private sector employers are increasingly offering these kinds of benefits as standard fare.  Among Fortune 500 companies, for example, domestic partner benefits are commonplace.  According to the Office of Personnel Management, nearly 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies, including some of our top federal contractors, extend employment benefits to domestic partners.”

Under the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2011, same-sex domestic partners of federal employees living together in a committed relationship would be eligible for health benefits, long-term care, Family and Medical Leave, and federal retirement benefits, among others. Federal employees and their domestic partners would also be subject to the same responsibilities that apply to married federal employees and their spouses, such as anti-nepotism rules and financial disclosure requirements.

Senators Lieberman and Collins have introduced this legislation in two previous congressional sessions.

A 2009 UCLA Williams Institute report found that over 30,000 federal workers are in committed relationships with same-sex domestic partners who are not federal employees and, therefore, face disparities in what benefits they can claim when compared to their straight counterparts.

It is estimated that almost 60% of all Fortune 500 companies, one out of every three employers, and 50% of all employers with 5,000 or more workers, already provide benefits to employees’ domestic partners.

Twenty states and several hundred local jurisdictions also extend such benefits to employees in same-sex domestic partnerships.

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to San Diego Shooter.

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17 comments

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10:29PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

Thanks for the article.

6:30AM PST on Nov 23, 2011

In order to be a homophobe it has to occupy a significant part of your brain, and this means that homophobes are thinking about men/women rubbing penises/vaginas together in a 24/7 gay porno. That’s an awful lot of gay thoughts for supposedly straight people who hate gays. I bet even gay people don’t think about gay stuff as much as homophobes do.

Homophobes (aka Anti-Gay Movement) are not protesting against bestiality, pedophilia (with/without a priest involved), rape, sexual exploitation, or any other form of non-consensual sexual act in which a victim is forced against their will to participate

The Homophobes are protesting a private sexual act being performed by two consenting adults.

HOMOPHOBE = I DON’T LIKE GAY (SUPPOSEDLY) THEREFORE NO ONE SHOULD BE GAY.

Homosexuals = fighting for the right to control their own behavior.

Homophobes = fighting for the right to control other peoples behavior.

2:40PM PST on Nov 22, 2011

This is good news

12:19PM PST on Nov 22, 2011

Am visualizing it passed!

10:54AM PST on Nov 22, 2011

Great. A step in the right direction,with still a long way to go...

10:07AM PST on Nov 22, 2011

Guess I can't send you any more green stars this week, Marianne C, but I do agree - let anyone who wants to marry anyone do so - problem solved. I've worked for 2 private corporations that recognized domestic partnerships and offered family benefits to the gay partner. It's as it should be - all men (and women) are created equal - at least under the law.

9:29AM PST on Nov 22, 2011

And if there's anyone out there who objects to domestic partners getting benefits, we can always pass a Federal act legalizing Gay marriage, and the issue will be laid to rest.

7:04AM PST on Nov 22, 2011

Thank you reps Baldwin and Ros-Lethinen and Senators Collins and Leiberman.

6:51AM PST on Nov 22, 2011

About time.

4:36AM PST on Nov 22, 2011

Good to see. I hope it succeeds this time.

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