Bill to provide benefits to domestic partners returns to Senate

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By FederalDaily Staff
Nov 29, 2011

Two Senate leaders this month reintroduced a bill to provide health and other benefits for domestic partners of federal employees.

Under the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, sponsored by Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine), same-sex domestic partners of federal employees living together in a committed relationship would be eligible for health benefits, long-term care, family and medical leave, and federal retirement benefits.

The bill specifies that employees and their domestic partners would be subject to the same obligations that apply to married feds and spouses, such as anti-nepotism rules and financial disclosure requirements.

The two lawmakers have introduced the bill in the last two Congresses; the measure won the approval of the Governmental Affairs Committee in 2009.

“We repealed the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy in the military because we want the best men and women America has to offer to defend our country,” Lieberman said in a statement. “The same is true for federal employees: We want to attract the best men and women possible to serve in federal government.”

Collins called the changes outlined in the bill “fair policy and good business practice.”

“Today, health, medical, and other benefits are a major component of any competitive employment package,” she said. “Among Fortune 500 companies, for example, domestic partner benefits are commonplace.”

According to a 2009 UCLA Williams Institute study cited by the sponsors, more than 30,000 feds live in committed relationships with same-sex domestic partners who are not federal employees.

Please contact your Senator and demand that this bill passes.

Click on the link below to find out how to contact your Senator.