White House Issues Memorandum on Extension of Benefits to Same-Sex Domestic Partners of Federal Employees

Earlier yesterday, I reported that next month, same-sex partners of federal employees can begin applying for benefits. Late yesterday, a memo came from the White House:

Said OPM Director John Berry with regard to the memo: "This is another major step forward for gay and lesbian federal employees. But it’s also a good business practice — this will help us retain valuable employees and better compete with other employers for top talent. President Obama has stated clearly that this is an issue of equality. But just as important, youth today, LGBT or not, see these benefits as a litmus test for determining high quality employers."

As Americablog notes: "Today's memo explains which benefits those are. (Hint: Don't get too excited. Health benefits still aren't included, but we're glad the furor we created help some federal employees get some benefits.)

DOMA still prevents the granting of full benefits (and the Obama administration continues to defend DOMA in the courts.)"

Obama made note of that in a statement with the memo:

"While this Memorandum is an important step on the path to equality, my Administration continues to be prevented by existing Federal law from providing same-sex domestic partners with the full range of benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples. That is why, today, I renew my call for swift passage of an important piece of legislation pending in both Houses of Congress—the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act. This legislation, championed by Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, would extend to the same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees the full range of benefits currently enjoyed by Federal employees’ opposite-sex spouses. I look forward to signing it into law."

As do we.