As President Obama repeats his support for repealing the Defense of Marriage Act he is pushing Congress to create legislation offering more substantial benefits to same-sex partners.
President Obama informed American’s that “my Administration has identified a number of areas in which greater equality can be achieved under existing law by extending to the same-sex partners of Federal employees many of the same benefits already available to the spouses of heterosexual Federal employees.” This statement issued by him on 06/17/09 is the beginning of a long explanation of why he has written the Memorandum on Federal Benefits and Non-Discrimination, and why he is supporting the Lieberman-Baldwin benefits legislation.
A good Ambassador, Michael Guest, resigned from his position in 2007 “because he believed that the country he served was failing to implement the principles of equality it espoused abroad.” Not just this one individual has been lost to federal service, but other good people as well, as benefits at any place of employment are important to families and partners.
President Obama stated in no uncertain terms that “Extending equal benefits to the same-sex partners of Federal employees is the right thing to do.” President Obama also recognized that some private companies have initiated measures already to support GLBT couples and families. He believes “those companies recognize that offering partner benefits helps them compete for and retain the brightest and most talented employees.”
Currently in congress they are also working on putting together a piece of legislation called the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009. President Obama offered an explanation as to the goal of this legislation. “This legislation will extend to the same-sex partners of Federal employees the same benefits already enjoyed by the opposite-sex spouses of Federal employees.”
Also the president states his support for Lieberman-Baldwin benefits legislation openly and on paper.
This is not the end of the road for GLBT people in fact “this Presidential Memorandum is just a start.” President Obama stated, “Unfortunately, my Administration is not authorized by existing Federal law to provide same-sex couples with the full range of benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples. That’s why I stand by my long-standing commitment to work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. It’s discriminatory,” (06/17/09 President Obama). A bold statement by an avenging angel in US politics today!
Is anyone happy? Not really. Most likely that means that this was probably the best move he could make from a political and negotiators stand point. A letter from a member of the GLBT community who works at the Department of Defense can be found here giving a cold bucket of water to President Obama’s attempts here. Some areas of the ‘Christian’ community are also working up their protests and arguments.
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM ON FEDERAL BENEFITS AND NON-DISCRIMINATION, AND SUPPORT OF THE LIEBERMAN-BALDWIN BENEFITS LEGISLATION 06/17/2009 published at: