Thursday, June 03, 2010

Obama extends more same-sex partner benefits in some federal agencies (with the most sensitive jobs)

Ed O’Keefe has an important story in the Washington Post on Thursday June 3, “Obama extends benefits to gay Federal workers”, link here.

A measure signed a year ago allowed same-sex partners to be eligible for long term care insurance benefits, as well as hospital visitation and some unpaid family leave.

Today’s measure extends to employees in some specific agencies in intelligence (the CIA?) and financial regulation (the SEC?) to allow much expanded benefits in “health-insurance premiums, dental and vision insurance, business travel accident insurance and tax reimbursements for gym memberships, physical exams and homeowners' insurance.” Other lesser benefits may be available in some agencies, such as with credit unions.

What’s curious is that the most sensitive jobs (as in intelligence on the civilian side) are offering better same-sex partner benefits than other agencies. This is a turnabout from the time that I was applying for top secret security clearances in the early 1970s. (Civil Service didn’t start protecting gay employees from firings until 1973.)

Federal law prevents the president form ordering full benefits to same-sex partners in domestic partnerships. The same is obviously true now of the military; a review of benefits would be part of the Pentagon’s task in signing on to the conditional repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” just passed by Congress.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Employees of the Federal Government (FedGLOBE, link here hasn’t published the story yet but will surely do so soon.

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