The Senate had hearings today on the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act. This act would mean a great deal to LGBT Foreign Service families, granting benefits to the domestic partners of federal employees such as health insurance coverage and pension inheritance. In particular, health care coverage for same-sex spouses is critical when the employee spouse is serving overseas and the partner may or may not have a job (this is true of heterosexual spouses as well...jobs for spouses can be hard to come by).
The Human Rights Campaign's backstory has discussed the hearing here:
Capitol Hill Heads Up: Ryan White CARE & DP Benefits on Tap Today
...the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee chaired by Senator Lieberman will hold a hearing this morning on S. 1102, the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act. The bill would extend equal employment benefits to domestic partners of federal employees — something the President called for in June when signing his memorandum on federal employee benefits. The hearing begins at 10am in room 342 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building (a live stream will also be available). HRC President Joe Solmonese submitted written testimony [pdf].
Also today, I got a copy of a letter from Susan Johnson, the president of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), our "union." Unlike last year, when all we could pry out of AFSA was a joint letter with GLIFAA supporting the "principles" of the legislation (but not the legislation itself), the newly elected board has given strong support for this bill.
I will get the text of that letter to you soon.
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