Thursday, June 12, 2008

Domestic Partner Benefits for Federal Employees

I found this today on the Center for American Progress's video blog, SEEPROGRESS. In addition to the text below, you can watch some video highlights from yesterday's panel discussion.

In 1997 President Bill Clinton nominated Jim Hormel to be the first openly gay Ambassador to Luxembourg. After a 20-month politically divisive battle, Secretary Albright swore in Ambassador Hormel. Two years later, in 2001, President Bush nominated Michael Guest to be ambassador to Romania. While there was no battle for confirmation, what both ambassadors had to cope with was an inequitable system that treated them and their committed partners differently under the law. Federal Employees, whether in the foreign service or working in a regional office of HHS, are denied the ability to purchase domestic partner benefits. The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (S. 2521 and H.R. 4838) would provide domestic partnership benefits to all federal civilian employees on the same basis as spousal benefits. These benefits, available for same sex domestic partners of federal employees, would include participation in applicable retirement programs, compensation for work injuries, and life and health insurance benefits. By offering health benefits to the domestic partners of federal employees, employment practices in the federal government would be in line with those of Americas largest and most successful corporations, including AT&T, General Motors, and Raytheon. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Sen Gordon Smith, Rep Tammy Baldwin and others appeared at a June 11, 2008 event at the Center for American Progress (CAPAF) to discuss the current policy and the future.

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