Senate committee approves domestic partner benefits bill

LGBTQ Nation

US-CapitolThe U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 8-1 Wednesday in favor of domestic-partner benefits.

The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act would provide domestic partner benefits for federal employees and their same-sex partners, including federal health insurance, retirement and disability benefits, family, medical and emergency leave, and compensation for work injuries.

Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said he and Ranking Member Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the bill with the purpose of bringing a measure of equality to the federal work force.

“I believe this legislation is really on the right side of history, and it, in a sense, is another expression of a concept we believe in, which is equal pay for equal work, and in this case, equal benefits for equal work,” Lieberman said.

The bill is expected to receive a lukewarm reception in the full Senate, however, due to opposition from conservative Republicans.

In a statement from the White House, spokesperson Shin Inouye said, “The President is pleased with yesterday’s progress on the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act, and urges Congress to move swiftly to pass this crucial legislation… He hopes to see this bill come to his desk for his signature next year.”

Similar legislation, introduced in the House by openly lesbian Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) cleared the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on November 18.

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