Barack Obama | Gay Rights | News

Obama to Extend Federal Benefits to Gay Employees




Following days of fury over the Department of Justice defense of DOMA brief and a day in which next week's Democratic Party LGBT fundraiser was challenged by several high-profile boycotts, the White House appeared to be nudged from its slumber on LGBT issues.

 The AP is reporting: "President Barack Obama plans to extend health care and other benefits to the gay and lesbian partners of federal employees. White House officials say Obama plans to announce decision on Wednesday in the Oval Office. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the president had not yet made the announcement. The move would give partners of federal employees access to health care and financial benefits such as relocation fees for moves. Officials say Obama would detail more details of the decision on Wednesday."

Obamamarineone The NYT reports: "...administration officials said the timing of the announcement was intended to help contain the growing furor among gay rights groups. Several gay donors withdrew their sponsorship of a Democratic National Committee fund-raising event next week, where Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is scheduled to speak."

A press conference "regarding federal benefits and non-discrimination" is scheduled for Wednesday evening.

Americablog notes: "Unfortunately, federal benefits for gay federal employees is not even one of the eight campaign promises Obama made to our community (there are only seven now on the White House Web site - the DOMA promise went down the memory hole about two months ago)."

Announcement of benefits to be a "memorandum" and is not expected to include health benefits...

Said Empire State Pride Agenda executive director Alan van Capelle to Politico: "Welcome to 1999. How revolutionary of the White House to give benefits to same-sex couples, when two-thirds of conservative Wall Street are already doing it. What an achievement. It's just one of the things that should have been done in January...If the President makes the announcement tomorrow, it will still fall short of what LGBT people are expecting from this administration."

Will this stop the bleeding? Don't think so.

Rachel Maddow's coverage of the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

MORE: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network urges President to address "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" at press conference.

(official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Somehow I am still way underwhelmed...

    Posted by: Steve | Jun 16, 2009 9:25:05 PM

  2. Not even remotely enough. Keep going, Mr. President, you're far from being out of the woods just yet.

    Posted by: ichabod | Jun 16, 2009 9:30:17 PM

  3. no way... he's not even close with this one. this is not fierce advocacy, this is convenience and a$$-covering...

    Posted by: joel | Jun 16, 2009 9:40:50 PM

  4. I'm still as much of an Obama supporter as you can be in light of his actions (or inactions), but this is way too little. Not too late though: hopefully this is a just a taste of what's to come. I can't imagine the administration thinks that the extension of benefits to federal employees is enough to placate a deeply insulted community.

    Posted by: henry | Jun 16, 2009 9:43:55 PM

  5. they've attacked us twice in the courts on both DADT and DOMA, but some people get health benefits..whoop-di-doo... lots of private companies have been doing this for years. talk about throwing (some of)us a bone ! this is the 'exciting' news we were promised ??.. and just in time for his big push for his health plan.. wow, what a coincidence !

    Posted by: el polacko | Jun 16, 2009 9:44:15 PM

  6. Sounds a bit hypocritical unless he's including the repeal of DADT in this. Somehow I doubt those federal employees who serve in uniform are going to be able to use these new benefits.

    Posted by: Chuck | Jun 16, 2009 9:48:05 PM

  7. this just pisses me off.

    Posted by: rich | Jun 16, 2009 9:53:03 PM

  8. 1. Flies in the face of DOMA
    2. Doesn't apply to the military
    3. Doesn't address the administration's defense of DOMA comparing us to pedophiles and incest
    4. Step up to the podium and make yourself clear...we've heard the double talk
    5. Too little, too late (how many LGBT people are affected by this announcement?)

    Posted by: bkmn | Jun 16, 2009 9:53:50 PM

  9. Yeah, and these benefits are taxed at a much higher rate than spousal benefits -- for my partners benefits, I have to pay tax (about $400 every 4 months) while married couples are not required to pay this tax. Sorry Obama, FAIL!

    Posted by: mikevenice | Jun 16, 2009 9:54:55 PM

  10. Maddow had Chuck Todd on. He said that this is a memorandum, not an executive order, and that he "believe[s]" that means this decision would go POOF as soon as a new administration is in. That means either the next president would have to resign this... or could be free from making the homophobic signature of bigotry by signing his or her own executive order to end the policy.

    Even when Obama tries to help us, he screws us over!!!!!! Way more than a day late and a dollar short. This is just not excusable or enough or something that will appease any decent gay person or ally.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jun 16, 2009 9:57:05 PM

  11. Hey, it's still great news. I'm happy to hear it. At a time when Obama's every action is being parsed for its potentially insulting subtext, a plain old positive thing should not be overlooked.

    But agreed, if this is meant as an olive branch, it's just a li'l twig. I think he'd have a better shot with a sincere speech in which he reiterated his campaign promises and actually laid out some sort of timeline.

    And acknowledged and apologized for the DOJ brief.

    But...still glad he is doing this.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Jun 16, 2009 10:02:12 PM

  12. But it's not to ALL Federal employees...

    My partner is active duty military, and I'm a veteran. Unless I'm going to magically be able to go to the base medical office or shop at the commissary for groceries, unless I'm going to receive my partner's retirement benefits if he should God forbid die before me, I don't think my partner's benefits apply to our situation.

    Without the repeal of DADT and DOMA, it's an empty and incomplete offer.

    Posted by: Matty | Jun 16, 2009 10:10:44 PM

  13. Clearly this is a step in the right direction. It shows that the Federal Government actually recognizes all legitimate relationships.

    Posted by: Roman | Jun 16, 2009 10:12:46 PM

  14. Obama was always a master at damage control and PR tactics. He's not so good on duplicity, transparency and insensitivity though.

    I hope Obama is shelved in 2012.
    Fuck the Dems. The party is OVER.

    Posted by: Martha | Jun 16, 2009 10:16:02 PM

  15. So americablog is griping because the prez is doing something good but he didn't promise to do it during the campaign? So that doesn't count somehow?

    Posted by: BillyBoy | Jun 16, 2009 10:17:51 PM

  16. I'm slightly surprised that, aside from civilian-military distinctions, the federal government was allowed to give different rights to different employees (meaning, State Dept. got these rights earlier than other federal employees).

    I agree with Matthew, this is good. But I also agree that it's barely a start. I assume the administation is responding to all the LGBT criticisms of recent weeks and is using this as a trial balloon to see how "average" Americans react. (One bright side is that this could greatly expand these benefits at the state and county levels, etc.)

    Posted by: Paul R | Jun 16, 2009 10:19:25 PM

  17. Wow, one PR nightmare with the gay community and we get a token to appease us. It seems as if this was too easy to do MONTHS ago, and we are only getting it now because the president equated homosexuality to incest. I am not buying it!!!!!! I was a true blooded Obama supporter since 04.... but now..... HILLARY HILLARY 2012!!!

    Posted by: PSUGUY | Jun 16, 2009 10:23:37 PM

  18. 1. The DOJ never mentioned incest or pedophilia. That's just nonsense. There's a lot of manufactured hysteria here.

    2. Chuck Todd explicitly said he DID NOT KNOW what the difference between an executive order and a memorandum is. Yet someone si upset based on some guessing that he did and then took back. Maybe you should wait and find out what the story is.

    3. This action does not fly in the face of DOMA. Anyone who thinks that hasn't read DOMA...and it's about 150 words long! And if it dod, why would that be a complaint against it?

    Posted by: BillyBoy | Jun 16, 2009 10:24:50 PM

  19. Read the brief.... the words are there....

    Posted by: PSUGUY | Jun 16, 2009 10:27:30 PM

  20. While I think that is a good "twig," the President is also lifting the "curtain on his long-anticipated plan to reorder how banks and other firms are regulated in the hope of preventing another financial collapse" (CNN Ticker) tomorrow. What do you think the mainstream press if going to cover?

    Posted by: Kevin | Jun 16, 2009 10:29:21 PM

  21. Let's see if those employees will be TAXED on those benefits, unliked married employees.

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 16, 2009 10:32:01 PM

  22. Can Obama dig himself a deeper hole?
    It sure looks like it?

    He thinks we are stupid and will be appeased with the freaking inaction? What a JOKE Obama has become. And it's barely 6 months. He has become a FRAUD of the 1st degree. And probably a homophobe.

    Gee Obama, you should pissed us off even more.

    If you are not re-elected it will be your own fault not ours.

    I can't stand even seeing photos of him right now.

    Posted by: FunMe | Jun 16, 2009 10:32:51 PM

  23. does he think we are that stupid?!

    Posted by: bill | Jun 16, 2009 10:36:15 PM

  24. You're right, BillyBoy, the case used incestuous relationships as precedence as precedence to justify denying standing to our relationships. That's completely different than comparing our relationships to incest.

    Enough with the naive bs, peeps.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jun 16, 2009 10:38:35 PM

  25. I suppose something is better than nothing. Unless something means nothing.

    Posted by: AERES | Jun 16, 2009 10:39:00 PM

  26. 1 2 3 »

Post a comment


« «Limbaugh to Gays on Obama and DOMA: 'Bend Over Grab The Ankles'« «