Legislation would expand Family and Medical Leave Act to include LGBT families
Washington–The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, applauds the re-introduction of the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act in the 112th Congress. The bill sponsored by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), would expand the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to include a domestic partner, same-sex spouse, parent-in-law, adult child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild. A companion measure was introduced in the House last week by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
“We applaud Representative Maloney and Senator Durbin for their continued leadership on behalf of LGBT families,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Under current law, far too many caregivers – including same-sex spouses and partners– are placed in the impossible position of choosing between taking care of their families and maintaining their livelihoods. This legislation would remove an unfair and unconscionable burden on working families and we urge Congress to pass it.”
Since 1993 when the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted, over 50 million Americans have been able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for their new babies, sick family members, or to recover from their own serious illnesses. The FMLA has proven essential to achieving greater employee retention and reducing employee turnover. Unfortunately, under the current law, millions of lesbian and gay Americans in committed, long-term relationships are unable to take FMLA leave to care for their same-sex partner or spouse. Hundreds of companies, several states and the District of Columbia have already extended FMLA-like protections to families headed by same-sex couples for purposes of family leave, recognizing that an inclusive workforce is a competitive workforce.
A broad coalition of civil rights, labor, LGBT, women’s, and religious organizations supports passage of the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act. A list of supporting organizations is available here.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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