Gay activists shrug at Obama benefits move
Posted on June 19, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
President Obama’s first official overture to the gay and lesbian community, granting a handful of benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees Wednesday, did little to quiet gay rights activists who want him to push for repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Obama reiterated at a White House ceremony his “long-standing commitment” to try to overturn the law, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages.
But the memorandum he signed Wednesday was a far cry from the frontal assault on the 1996 marriage law, which denies federal benefits to same-sex partners, or the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays in the military that Obama the candidate talked about.
The memorandum aims at the fringes of anti-gay discrimination by the federal government, leaving open the question of if or when the White House will move against the underlying federal laws.
Under the new rule, domestic partners of civil servants will be eligible for long-term care insurance, and employees may use their sick leave to take care of ailing partners or non-biological, non-adopted children.
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