USA: Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act Introduced

Written by scott on October 6th, 2013

US CongressA bill that would provide benefits to partners of gay and lesbian federal employees, regardless of marital status, has been introduced in the US legislature. reports:

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?

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3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ingrid wright says:

    This is truly a great step in the larger picture of inequality and injustice, but this only covers a very small group of couples…..what about all of us who aren’t federal employees and their spouses? My wife and I face the same challenges, but neither of us are federal employees! How does this help us?

  2. Ned says:

    Laws that merely improve an existing 2nd-class status, without providing full equality, do shrink the equality gap, but nonetheless leave in effect.

    Legal arguments for full equality are stronger when the inequality being suffered is greater, so partial remedies like this make full equality seem less urgent.

  3. Simone says:

    This is awesome. I agree that everyone should have equal benefits under the law and i would love it if i woke up tomorrow and that was true but seeing as how that’s probably not going to happen, small steps are better then no steps. 🙂

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