While the Supreme Court’s decision striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and guidance from the Office of Personnel Management have made clear that federal workers’ same-sex spouses are now eligible for benefits, there are still federal employees who cannot access marriage and thus continue to be denied critical health, retirement and other benefits for their families. In an effort to remedy that continued inequality, today the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (DPBO) of 2013 was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate. The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and in the House by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Richard Hanna (R-NY) would provide benefits for same-sex domestic partners of federal civilian employees on the same basis as spousal benefits. These benefits would include participation in applicable retirement programs, life and health insurance benefits, and family and medical leave.
What do you think? While definitely an improvement in the short run for these couples, is this a good or bad thing in terms of long-term strategy for full marriage equality?