Since taking office, the American people have seen a flurry of activity from the Obama administration, ranging from increased diplomatic efforts abroad to fixing the economic crisis at home. There is one area, however, where we've seen far too little movement―gay rights.
Last night, President Obama signed a presidential memorandum that will extend certain job benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.
Over the past several months, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management and the Secretary of State have conducted internal reviews to determine whether the benefits they administer may be extended to the same-sex partners of federal employees within the confines of existing laws and statutes. Both identified a number of such benefits.
For civil service employees, domestic partners of federal employees can be added to the long-term care insurance program; supervisors can also be required to allow employees to use their sick leave to take care of domestic partners and non-biological, non-adopted children.
For foreign service employees, a number of benefits were identified, including the use of medical facilities at posts abroad, medical evacuation from posts abroad, and inclusion in family size for housing allocations.
While it is a small step in the right direction, it is hardly the action that Senator Obama spoke of so often on the campaign trail:
I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)– a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does.
It seems that rather than take real action to repeal DOMA, the administration is offering a gesture to the LGBT community, a gesture without much weight behind it.
President Obama promised all of us that he would push to end the discrimination caused by DOMA; Let your voice be heard and tell the Obama administration that you want it repealed. Sign our petition to end DOMA now!