Obama signs Memorandum granting benefits to gay federal employees

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Obama extends right gay federal employeesPresident Obama has just signed the Presidential Memorandum on Federal Benefits and Non-Discrimination which extends “some” benefits to the partners of federal gay and lesbian employees. Those benefits are restricted to:

Civil Service Employees

  • Domestic partners of federal employees can be added to the long-term care insurance program
  • Supervisors are required to allow employees to use their sick leave to take care of domestic partners and non-biological, non-adopted children

Foreign Service Employees

  • Use of medical facilities at posts abroad
  • Medical evacuation from posts abroad
  • Inclusion in family size for housing allocations

The Memorandum unfortunately does not extend healthcare benefits to partners of gay and lesbian. In fact, many of the benefits already exist, as reported by John Aravosis at Americablog:

I just asked OPM Director John Berry, on a White House media conference call, whether in fact federal agencies already have the right to give these benefits to gay employees. The answer, “yes.” So what’s new about tonight? Obama is going to “tell” the agencies to give the benefits – as if any agency in the Obama administration would dare tell a gay employee no to a request for time off to attend their partner’s funeral?

Obama also announced his support for the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act which extends equal treatment in benefits for federal employees.

Video of Obama signing the Memorandum below:

The full text of the President Obama’s statement available here.

Post by ILO on 06/17/09 at 3:45 pm