Year Ahead Filled with Promise, Pitfalls

January 5, 2010

by Harley Dennett | DC Agenda

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) has a busy year ahead as LGBT rights supporters expect action on a range of bills.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent comment that her 2010 agenda wouldn’t include controversial votes unless the Senate acts first has disappointed some LGBT lobbyists on Capitol Hill.

There are several LGBT-related bills pending at the federal level, including repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the enactment of employment non-discrimination and extending benefits to the same-sex partners of federal workers.

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Rationale Builds for Same-Sex Benefits Law

November 24, 2009

by Joe Davidson | Washington Post

Two federal appellate court judges issued separate rulings last week that came to the same result: Uncle Sam must permit employee benefits for same-sex spouses of federal workers.

Though the decisions apply only to same-gender married employees of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, and that’s a pretty small group even in California, the judges’ orders boost the arguments of those favoring legislation that Congress now is considering.

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Equal Benefits for Equal Work: Support the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act

November 19, 2009

Yesterday the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a committee vote on the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (DPBO), legislation that would provide equal benefits to the domestic partners of federal employees. The committee passed DPBO at 23-12, an important step in securing federal protections for the LGBT community. We must secure this victory and work to pass other crucial pieces of legislation pending in Congress.

DPBO moves to the House floor for consideration, and it’s up to us to make sure that it passes and protects the thousands of devoted, hard-working LGBT government employees.

Equal work demands equal compensation.
We must speak up and remind Congress about this basic principle of fairness, to ensure that the domestic partners of government employees are able to receive their partners’ benefits, including health insurance and access to pensions.

Please take a minute and call your representative at (202) 224-3121.
We must make sure that a House vote on DPBO will happen soon and that our representatives support DPBO. We need to stand together as a community and urge our representatives to fight for the rights of the domestic partners of federal employees.

President Obama is ready to sign DPBO into law but we need to make sure that it passes in Congress. Call your representative today and ask them to vote for equality and fairness. Ask them to pass the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act.

In Solidarity,

Bill to Extend Benefits to Same-Sex Partners Advances

November 19, 2009

By Joe Davidson | Washington Post

The effort to expand domestic benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees took another step forward Wednesday when a House committee advanced legislation to do just that.

After sometimes heated debate, the 23 to 12 vote in the Oversight and Government Reform Committee broke down along party lines, with the victorious Democrats arguing that the measure is a matter of fairness and equality. Republicans opposed it because, among other things, they said it would undermine the concept that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

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read President Obama’s statement on the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act

Partner Benefits Hearing Next Wednesday

November 13, 2009

by Kerry Eleveld | The Advocate

A committee markup has been scheduled for the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act, which will provide benefits to the domestic partners of federal government employees. Markups are the process by which congressional committees finalize the language of a bill and then vote on the legislation. If the bill is voted out of committee, it heads to the floor for a full House vote.

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House to Act on Domestic Partnership

November 5, 2009

by Michael M. Gleeson | The Hill

Legislation that would provide benefits to domestic partners of federal employees will soon be marked up by a House committee and could hit the floor by the end of 2009.

Under current law, same-sex couples working at the federal level are ineligible to receive the same healthcare, retirement and family leave benefits afforded to their married counterparts. Many companies in the private sector have long offered their employees those domestic partner benefits.

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Watch Rep. Baldwin’s Senate Testimony on the Domestic Partner Benefits & Obligations Act

October 19, 2009

On Thursday, October 15, 2009, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (WI-02) testified in front of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on behalf of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, H.R. 2517.

This measure would put the federal government on par with a majority of Fortune 500 companies by extending employee benefit programs to cover the domestic partners of federal employees to the same extent as those benefits cover spouses of federal employees.

read more about the hearing