Obama extends benefits for gay federal workers

Associated Press / June 3, 2010

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WASHINGTON — President Obama ordered government agencies yesterday to extend additional benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, including child care services and expanded family leave.

The moves come a year after Obama signed a memorandum giving federal workers’ same-sex partners a first round of benefits including visitation and dependent-care rights.

At the same time he asked federal agencies to determine what other benefits could be given to domestic partners without Congress acting, and those he announced yesterday were the results of that review.

They include child-care services and subsidies; more flexibility to use family leave to attend to the needs of domestic partners and their children; relocation benefits; giving domestic partners the same status as “family members’’ when federal appointments are made; and access to credit union and other memberships when those are provided to federal workers.

As with Obama’s memo a year ago, this one covers only benefits that can be extended under existing law, without congressional action. Legislative action would be required for a full range of health care and other benefits.

Health care benefits are the ultimate goal for many activists, and Obama supports them as well. He called on Congress to act on legislation to extend health benefits to same-sex partners.