Equal benefits bill for federal employees introduced in House and Senate
May 21, 2009
Ed. Note: This post from Jonathan Monteith, HRC Policy Assistant. Yesterday, we saw the bipartisan reintroduction of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (DPBO) by Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) in the House and Senators Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate. This legislation would extend benefits to same-sex domestic partners of federal civilian employees on the same basis as spousal benefits. How would the passage of DPBO make an impact on the lives of LGBT Americans? The benefits provided in this bill would provide invaluable support for the families of lesbian and gay federal employees, including participation in applicable retirement programs, compensation for work injuries and life and health insurance benefits. DPBO is about equal pay for equal work; a lesbian or gay federal employee who works as hard as her colleague in the next cubicle should receive the same compensation. This legislation also makes sense from a business perspective. Fifty-seven percent of Fortune 500 companies already provide domestic partner benefits to their employees. In addition, 16 states and over 200 local governments offer their public employees domestic partnership benefits. Offering health benefits to the domestic partners of federal employees will finally bring employment practices in the federal government in line with those of America's largest and most successful corporations - ensuring that the government is able to compete for top talent on equal footing with the nation's leading corporations. Fundamental fairness belongs in the federal workplace just as it does in the private sector. Be sure to contact your lawmakers to urge their support for this critical legislation - H.R. 2517 in the House and S. 1102 in the Senate.