The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act
Benefits, such as health insurance and retirement savings, are a significant portion of employee compensation. Although the federal government—the nation’s largest civilian employer—offers attractive family benefits to employees with different-sex spouses, it does not offer the same benefits to lesbian and gay workers with partners. As a result, these employees do not receive equal pay for their equal contributions, and the government cannot keep pace with leading private-sector employers—including many federal contactors—in recruiting and retaining top talent.
What is the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act?
The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (DPBO) would provide the same family benefits to lesbian and gay federal civilian employees as are already provided to employees with different-sex spouses.
To receive benefits, employees would have to submit an affidavit of eligibility for benefits with the Office of Personnel Management, certifying that the employee and domestic partner meet necessary criteria, as provided in the Act.
DPBO is Consistent With Leading Employers’ Policies
DPBO would bring employment practices in the federal government in line with those of America’s largest and most successful corporations. Fifty-nine percent of Fortune 500 companies provide domestic partner benefits to their employees. Sixty-two percent of Fortune 500 companies provide domestic partner benefits to their employees. In addition, 26 states, the District of Columbia, and over 150 local governments make benefits available to public employees and their same-sex partners.
A May 2000 poll conducted by the Associated Press found that a majority of Americans favor the extension of health insurance coverage to same-sex partners. In addition, this legislation has been endorsed by numerous organizations including: the American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Harvard University, National Treasury Employees Union, and National Partnership for Women and Families.
Action in the 112th Congress
DPBO was introduced in the 112th Congress in the House by Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and had 140 co-sponsors. It was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and had 30 co-sponsors. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a markup on May 16, 2012. The committee approved the bill by a voice vote.
What is the Current Status of the Bill?
DPBO is expected to soon be reintroduced in the 113th Congress.
For more information, please contact [email protected].
Last Updated: January 3, 2013.