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US Office of Personnel Management Opposes Domestic Partnership Benefits

The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing this week on the Domestic Partnerships Benefits and Obligations Act. The Act (see, PDF) would extend federal health and retirement benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers if enacted. Howard Weizmann, Deputy Director of the U.S Office of Personnel Management (OPM) told the committee that “his agency opposes legislation that would provide domestic partners of gay federal employees the same benefits available to spouses of straight employees,” according to the Washington Blade.

Weizmann is concerned about potential fraud as same-sex couples would only need a sworn affidavit of a committed relationship to be eligible for benefits. He argued that this system would make it “difficult to resolve administrative problems when such a relationship breaks down,” according to Federal News Radio.

In a press release, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said “equal pay for equal work is a value fundamental to American opportunity. The federal government should be the standard bearer for fair workplace practices. As long [as] it denies gay and lesbian employees the comprehensive family benefits that their heterosexual colleagues receive, the federal government will fall short of that standard, and continue to lag behind the nation’s top employers.”

Sources:

Federal News Radio 9/25/08; Washington Blade 9/24/08; Human Rights Campaign 9/24/08; Bill S.2521