Obama Memo: What Benefits are Forthcoming to Same-Sex Partners?

The White House has sent out some more information on this evening's memorandum from Obama on benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

Obama Today's memorandum, which Obama will sign in the Oval Office, comes after a review by  the Director of the Office of Personnel Management John Berry and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of what benefits might be offered to the same-sex partners of federal employees in the civil service and the
foreign service within the confines of existing federal laws and

Berry and Clinton conducted internal reviews, according to the White House, and identified these benefits:

"For civil service employees, domestic partners of federal employees can
be added to the long-term care insurance program; supervisors can also
be required to allow employees to use their sick leave to take care of
domestic partners and non-biological, non-adopted children.  For
foreign service employees, a number of benefits were identified,
including the use of medical facilities at posts abroad, medical
evacuation from posts abroad, and inclusion in family size for housing

The memorandum Obama will sign will direct Berry and Clinton to oversee implementation of these benefits. Guidance is to be issued within 90 days by the OPM to all executive departments and agencies.


  1. Bruno says

    @Garrett: I doubt it requires either, since many federal employees live in states that offer nothing. Which just goes to show that what’s being offered here isn’t nothing, although it isn’t nearly enough.

  2. Tim says

    This is symbol more than substance. According to Jake Tapper of ABC News, one of the few MSM reporters holding the WH’s feet to the fire of LGBT issues, health insurance is not among the benefits to be given under this order because that is not allowed by federal law. They ARE offered in my private sector job but are taxed as an employee benefit, not the case with heterosexual married couples. Where’s the fairness? Obama needs to stop being so reticent in his support for the LGBT community. He should have read yesterday’s editorial in the NT Times. Maybe it would have given him a backbone.

  3. says

    I don’t care how great the details are the key one is that it is NOT an executive order so it will be far easier for any future administration to ignore.

    Even President Satan issued three executive orders protecting gays: “don’t ask” volunteers for the military if they’re gay; no discrimination in federal employment based on being gay; no denial of security clearances based on being gay.

  4. K says

    So non-biological, non-adopted children means foster children? Is this a way to include same-sex couples that are neither allowed to foster nor adopt?

  5. kansastock says

    Based on the ‘size of this package’, now I understand why he scheduled this announcement just 15 minutes before dinner… and he’ll still have time for a pickup bb game with Rham, too.

  6. Brian says

    So partners can be added to long term insurance (most likely paid by the partners themselves). This is about as flimsy an extension of benefits as I coud imagine. Obmama has a full plate getting health care through a Congress made up of reactionary Republicans and cowardly Democrats, so I’ll cut him some slack. But “symbolic gestures” like this one raise my concern that Obama has no agenda for gay rights except to delay and delay. So much for being a ‘fierce advocate.” Seems to me Obama is pretty much a fierce advocate of the status quo for gays.

  7. Juan says

    Absolutely ridiculous! This is a piss-poor attempt to throw the LGBT community a bone in exchange for their money next week. I am not ony disappointed, I am offended!

  8. JR says

    Look, I’m just gonna say it. I was in support of Obama vs. McCain all the way. But I think it was pretty clear when he asked that asshole Rick Warren to the inauguration that he had absolutely no plans to really respect gay people. That act in my book called all bets off. So I’m pretty much over him. If he actually does something to honor the promises he made I will be pleasantly surprised, but I’m certainly not holding my breath.

  9. Alleyne says

    Someone asked: “So non-biological, non-adopted children means foster children?”

    No, it means a federal employee can now use sick time (but not the FMLA) to care for the child born to or adopted by their same-sex partner, even if they have not adopted the child themselves. Since many states bar same-sex second parent adoptions (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_adoption) it’s often not legally possible for one of the members of a same-sex couple to have an “official” relationship to the child that they are parenting.

  10. Martha says

    it’s a paltry memo (a bone thrown to gays) not even an Executive Order — being signed on the downlow from evening news (and the bible belt).

    the gay ATM machine is shutting down and the DEMS are freaking out.

    Obama insults our intelligence
    he is a master of PR damage control
    but a lousy leader for his people…

    Obama: “change has come to america”
    no — change has come to your family and your career path.

  11. says

    Sweet Jesus ! Hasn’t the president got any idea of what we have been through in the eighties and nineties ? This president was our hope……where’s the outrage ? It’s time for some bold steps ,not cowering tip-toe minces !

  12. Robert Michael Pickett says

    I feel like I have been kicked in the stomach by Obama. To think I supported him both financially and politically for the past 2 years. This so-called memorandum is pathetic. It makes me even more resolved to stop my support. I had such good vibes about him and now I just feel sick. Not only has he proved to be a liar but he’s proved to be very very good at it. Please forgive me Hillary.

  13. says

    Token gesture that doesn’t even help the largest segment of federal employees, the uniformed servicemen and women.
    Obama and Berry both should be ashamed of themselves.

  14. Mikey says

    News from Califorornia – legally married here – one of the 18,000 couples that got into the window.

    My spouse inquired about health benefits for me with his employer – they said they would provide them and also reduce his salary about $3K per year for the money the company is putting into the plan.

    Married in CA – but still not equal. Until marriage equality is recognized nationally we are all screwed.

    No more money to Barak from us.

  15. alex in boston says

    For this issue to really have any substantive value it should have stated ..”THAT ALL THE BENEFITS AFFORDED TO HETERO COUPLES, WHERE ONE IS A FEDERAL EMPLOYEE, SHALL BE FORTHWITH AFFORDED TO ALL GLBT EMPLOYEES AND THEIR DOMESTIC PARTNERS(IN STATES WHERE SSM IS ILLEGAL) AND ALL SSM PARTNERS – PERIOD”” No exceptions no substitutions full and equal.. otherwise it’s the same old story …You can ride this bus but you have to sit in the back! And speaking of Federal employees, what about the military? are they not federal employess, oh wait, we do not have GAY members of the military so that would be moot right Mr O???

  16. Anonymous says

    Obama’s action would have been news in 1999 but not in 2009. Society has moved much, much further than this. This is a f***ing joke. Tokenism at its best. How about a campaign promise? Just pick one, any one at this point.

  17. steve talbert says

    And I bet they don’t mention that the benefits have to be taxed as perks and that most are already given at one agency or the other.

  18. Tralfaz says

    Mikey – Your spouce sounds like a wonderful person. Perhaps you should reward him by cleaning up the cat poop when you get home.


    Tralfaz aka “Mrs. Mikey”

  19. paul c says

    This was so incredibly brave of Obama. A lesser “fierce advocate” might have waited for all of the states to grant same sex benefits first, but not Obama! He is so fierce! He was all like “I’m gonna throw these queers a frickin bone and shut em up on my own schedule.” He’s a bold, brave genius. Not to mention a hero and a true leader.

  20. says

    I have an idea. Obama is short on time, a lot on his plate, but he golf’s every Sunday? So, in order to be our “champion” President Obama, how about sacrafising your golf time for the next 12 months and use that time to work with leaders to create a bill and submitt to congress. For all rights, do not dabble, do not give us an olive branch. GIVE US THE TREE! Do not tell us you have too much on your plate when you are out golfing and ignoring your promises to gay America. Seperate, not equal. Action! Not Words!

Leave A Reply