Lieberman: Senate Vote On Gay Partner Benefits ‘Within Weeks’

May 20, 2010

by Carlos Santoscoy | On Top Magazine

Aides to Senator Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, told the Washington Post Wednesday that the Senate could vote on a bill that would extend some benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees “within weeks.”

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Uncle Sam Has No Wedding Gift of Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

March 9, 2010

by Joe Davidson | Washington Post

When Lorilyn “Candy” Holmes and Darlene Garner get married Tuesday, it will be a joyous and historic occasion.

But an uninvited uncle will lurk among the well-wishers. They won’t notice him, but Holmes and Garner will know he’s there. His disapproving presence will linger, unseen, but not unfelt.

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Obama Decision to Deny Benefits to Lesbian Employee Latest in String of Insults to LGBT Community

December 18, 2009

A statement from NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell

(San Francisco, California, December 18, 2009) — Today President Obama’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it will not provide equal health benefits to the spouse of federal employee Karen Golinski, defying a decision by Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski concluding that the benefits must be provided pursuant to the Court’s nondiscrimination policy. Karen Golinski is represented by Lambda Legal in this matter. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) issued the following statement:

A statement from NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.

“Today’s decision fails our families and the legitimate expectations of our community. It is based on an overly expansive reading of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and an unnecessarily narrow view of the law on federal employee benefits.  We call on the Obama Administration to end government-sanctioned discrimination against same-sex couples and their families and to do everything in the President’s power to ensure equal treatment under the law.

Respectfully, we say that President Obama must do more to lead on these issues.  He should instruct his administration to stop offering offensive and ludicrous arguments defending DOMA, to stop interpreting DOMA as broadly as possible to block protections that families need, and to endorse the federal Respect for Marriage Act.  The Respect for Marriage Act is federal legislation to repeal DOMA and ensure that married same-sex couples are treated equally under the law.  While NCLR supports the federal Domestic Partners and Obligations Act, only ridding the country of DOMA once and for all will end this invidious discrimination.

Today’s decision stokes the growing criticism that the Administration is not delivering on the President’s promises to this nation’s LGBT families.”

Federal Agency Denies Spousal Benefits Claim

December 18, 2009

by Kerry Eleveld | The Advocate

The Office of Personnel Management has concluded that it does not have the legal authority to provide benefits to the spouse of Karen Golinski, a staff attorney who works at the U.S. court of appeals for the ninth circuit in San Francisco.

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Senate Committee Passes DP Benefits

December 16, 2009

by Kerry Eleveld | The Advocate

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Wednesday passed a bill that will provided benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers by a vote of 8 to 1.

“I believe this legislation is really on the right side of history,” said committee chair and sponsor of the bill Sen. Joseph Lieberman, calling it an extension of “equal pay for equal work.”

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Partners of Congress Members Face Inequity

December 14, 2009

by Kerry Eleveld | The Advocate

When the partner of freshman Colorado congressman Jared Polis went to get his Congressional Spouse ID last February at Member Services, he thought the new administration had dawned a new day for same-sex partners of Congress members.

“They just snapped my picture and wrote ‘spouse’ on it,” recalled Marlon Reis, who celebrated his sixth anniversary with Polis in September, though the couple is not legally married. “It took all of five minutes — it was so easy that it gave me the impression of a semipermanent policy change.”

But the 28-year-old’s attempt to join Polis in June on a congressional delegation (known as a “CODEL” in Hill-speak) was a different story entirely.

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Gay House Members Say Gay-Friendly Bills Are Near

December 7, 2009

by Lisa Leff | Associated Press

Two of Congress’s three openly gay members said Saturday that the U.S. House is poised to pass bills to provide health coverage for the same-sex partners of gay federal workers and to protect all gay and transgender employees from job discrimination.

Speaking to an international conference of gay politicians in San Francisco, U.S. Reps. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., said they expect a domestic partner benefits bill to come up for a vote by the end of the year and the employment bill to reach the floor early in 2010.

The lawmakers said they are also confident that the House will include in the annual military spending bill next year a provision to repeal the law that bans gays from serving in the U.S. military. All the measures face a harder time in the Senate following the death of longtime ally Sen. Edward Kennedy, but Baldwin and Polis said they remained optimistic.

“I’m hopeful we will see those three pieces of legislation make it all the way, or damn close,” said Baldwin, who is sponsoring the federal worker domestic partner bill.

Office of Personnel Management director John Berry, the Obama administration’s highest ranking gay appointee, told the conference that the president strongly supports the trio of gay rights measures.

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