President Barack Obama has signed a memorandum that he says will expand the benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees.
Obama notes that because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which limits marriage to opposite-sex couples, he is prohibited from extending all federal benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. However, the administration has identified a list of benefits that Obama is authorized to expend to the same-sex partners of federal employees. Benefits on the list include sick leave to care for a same-sex partner and long-term care.
In the memo, Obama asks the Director of the Office of Personnel Management to extend those benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees as long as it is consistent with federal law.
He has also asked Congress to repeal DOMA and approve the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009, which would extend the same benefits to same-sex partners as spouses receive.
“As Americans, we are all affected when our promises of equality go unfulfilled,” Obama said. “Through measures like the Presidential Memorandum I am issuing today and the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009, we will advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded and continue to perfect our Union.”