White House issues memo on fed. benefits for same-sex couples including hardship transfers and relocation expenses

The White House just sent out a Presidential memorandum “regarding the extension of benefits to same-sex domestic partners of federal employees.” You’ll recall that last June, in the wake of the DOMA brief controversy, Obama vowed to expand some benefits for federal employees. At the time, as John reported,

The White House actually admitted to the NYT that they were offering the benefits to help contain the “growing furor among gay rights groups.”

Today’s memo explains which benefits those are. (Hint: Don’t get too excited. Health benefits still aren’t included, but we’re glad the furor we created help some federal employees get some benefits.)

DOMA still prevents the granting of full benefits (and the Obama administration continues to defend DOMA in the courts.) Here’s the statement issued in conjunction with the memo:

“Last year, I issued a Presidential Memorandum that instructed the Office of Personnel Management and the Secretary of State to extend certain available benefits they had identified to gay & lesbian federal employees and their families under their respective jurisdictions. Among those benefits were long-term care insurance and expanded sick leave for civil service employees and medical care abroad, eligibility for employment at posts, cost-of-living adjustments abroad and medical evacuation for domestic partners of foreign service members. In that same Memorandum, I called upon the federal agencies to undertake a comprehensive review and to identify any additional benefits that could be extended to the same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees under existing law. That process has now concluded, and I am proud to announce that earlier today, I signed a Memorandum that requires Executive agencies to take immediate action to extend to the same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees a number of meaningful benefits, from family assistance services to hardship transfers to relocation expenses. It also requires agencies that extend any new benefits to employees’ opposite-sex spouses to make those benefits available on equal terms to employees’ same-sex domestic partners to the extent permitted by law.

While this Memorandum is an important step on the path to equality, my Administration 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. This legislation, championed by Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, would extend to the same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees the full range of benefits currently enjoyed by Federal employees’ opposite-sex spouses. I look forward to signing it into law.”

We look forward to you signing the repeal of DOMA into law so that all of our families, not just those of federal employees, have access to the full range of federally protected benefits.

Here’s the full memo:
Pres. memo on same-sex benefits for fed. employees http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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