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Obama Signs Memorandum Granting Same-Sex Partner Benefits for Federal Employees

President Obama signed a presidential memorandum yesterday expanding benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers. According to CNN, civil service employees can now take leave to tend to sick partners, add them to a long-term care program, and including the partners of Foreign Service workers in housing assignments and medical evaluations.

“Many of our government’s hard-working, dedicated, and patriotic public servants have long been denied basic rights that their colleagues enjoy for one simple reason – the people that they love are of the same sex,” the President Obama said in his remarks shortly before signing the executive order.

The memorandum has come under criticism, however, for failing to extend full health care coverage to the federal employees’ same-sex partners, reported the New York Times. Obama explained that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevented him from granting this benefit. During his presidential campaign, President Obama had promised to repeal DOMA.

In a Center for American Progress press release, Winnie Stachelberg said, “The presidential memorandum signed today gives domestic partners some of the benefits granted to spouses of federal employees. This memorandum shows the president’s desire to provide equality for federal employees, but it is only a first step.”

Sources:

The New York Times 6/18/09; Center for American Progress Press Release 6/17/09; President Barack Obama Statement 6/17/09; CNN 6/16/09