Main | Thursday, December 17, 2009

Benefits Bill For Partners Of Federal Employees Headed To Full Senate Vote

Yesterday the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee approved a bill authorizing benefits for the partners of federal employees. The bill will now go to the full Senate.
The benefits would include: health care, retirement and disability plans, family, medical and emergency leave, group life insurance, long-term care insurance and access to worker’s comp. Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said he and Ranking Member Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the bill with the purpose of bringing a measure of equality to the federal work force. “I believe this legislation is really on the right side of history, and it, in a sense, is another expression of a concept we believe in, which is equal pay for equal work, and in this case, equal benefits for equal work,” Lieberman said. Lieberman noted that federal employees and their domestic partners would have to abide by existing employment related obligations, such as conflict of interest provisions, anti-nepotism rules and financial disclosure requirements.
Hooray! Joe Lieberman did something right! The wingnuts are already screaming that the bill is "DOMA destroying legislation" intended to be a "backdoor" (har) end-run around the anti-gay law. From the American Family Association:
Peter Labarbera, executive director of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, says the Lieberman-Collins bill severely undermines the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. "This appears to be a violation of the spirit and the law of DOMA. DOMA was intended to encourage marriage, the recognition of marriage by the federal government, and this is the repudiation of that," Labarbera contends. "This is giving marital benefits to both homosexuals and heterosexual 'shack-up' couples. It's very bad public policy for the federal government to de-incentivize people getting married...and that's exactly what this legislation would do."

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