AP Source: Same-Sex Partners To Get Fed Benefits

President Barack Obama, whose gay and lesbian supporters have grown frustrated with his slow movement on their priorities, is extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, a White House official said.

Obama plans to announce his decision Wednesday in the Oval Office, the official said Tuesday. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the president hadn't yet signed the presidential memorandum.

The official said Obama would release more details Wednesday.

The decision is a political nod to a reliably Democratic voting bloc that has become impatient with the White House in recent weeks.

Several powerful gay fundraisers withdrew their support from a June 25 Democratic National Committee event where Vice President Joe Biden is expected to speak. Their exit came in response to a June 12 Justice Department brief that defended the Defense of Marriage Act, a prime target for gay and lesbian criticism.

Gays and lesbians also fretted as the White House declined to intervene in the cases of enlisted military members facing courts martial for defying the Clinton-era "don't ask, don't tell" policies. White House officials say they want Congress to repeal the policy as part of a "lasting and durable" solution, instead of intervening on individual cases.

"The president agreed that ... the policy wasn't working for our national interests, that he committed to change that policy, that he's working with the secretary of defense and the joint chiefs on making that happen," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said last month.

In the meantime, the administration has tried to make small, quiet moves to extend benefits to gays and lesbians. The State Department has promised to give partners of gay and lesbian diplomats many benefits, such as diplomatic passports and language training.

But without a specific change in the Federal Employees' Health Benefits Program, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's promises left out financial benefits such as pensions. Obama's move could make that shift.

Richard Socarides, a New York attorney and former senior adviser on gay rights issues to President Bill Clinton, was taking a wait-and-see attitude on Obama's announcement.

"If it doesn't include health insurance, if he doesn't talk about the military and about the (Justice Department) brief, I think it will fall short," Socarides said in an e-mail late Tuesday. "Right now, people are looking for real action."

John Berry, head of the Office of Personnel Management and the highest-ranking gay official in the administration, told a gay rally last weekend that Obama planned to take action on benefits soon.

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  • by Nathan Location: Eastern NC on Jun 19, 2009 at 01:16 AM
    First, and I've said this before, it really doesn't pay to bring the Church into these arguments, since they've spent untold millions defending priests who have had same-sex relationships with their choir boys and whatnot, so maybe same-sex relationships are only OK with the Church if they're non-consensual or involve kids? So what good is that? Second, to play off of Anonymous' point about God's intentions (never mind that we can't possibly know the Lord's mind), if God is really the omnipotent creator of all things, then God created homosexuality, for whatever reason (population control?), so who are we to question it? This isn't something people choose. Who would choose it? I sure wouldn't! As for the thing with the dog, anyone who can connect sex between consenting adults to bestiality must have some bizarre secrets of his own, particularly if he's projecting that connection on others in the guise of mere bigotry. But trying to classify is too hard, just live and let live.
  • by ace Location: plymouth on Jun 18, 2009 at 08:02 AM
    This would not be an issue if money were not involved.
  • by elvis is in thought on Jun 17, 2009 at 07:14 PM
    What can one say to a country that is forsaking its moral and ethical moorings in the name of "equality" and "fairness"? Just look at our economy and our crime statistics and you will have your answer. The God who is our creator allows our rampant rush toward anarchy, Do not be deceived---what you sow, that shall you reap. Thank me very much!
  • by Anonymous on Jun 17, 2009 at 11:32 AM
    I am not a Bible thumper, in fact I don't even go to church but there is one thing that you are forgetting. The Bible says a man is not to lay with another man, I don't know any other way to take it except that being gay is wrong. With that said, I go back to my point that is being missed here. This nation and it's laws were founded and based on God, period. If you're gay and you don't like the laws go somewhere else. Just because liberal groups have freedom of speech and can complain and whine until they get their way doesn't change the way God intended things to be. As far as the gay tax payer paying for my benefits goes I guess that's no different than the "fat" tax on fattening foods or the "sin" tax with alcohol and liquor they are talking about putting in place. So I guess you could consider it the "sin" tax for gays since the belief system this country is based on consideres being gay a sin.
  • by Derek Location: Greenville on Jun 17, 2009 at 09:29 AM
    OSOC - you used to make sense once, now I am having difficulty understanding what you are trying to say. The guy that had sex with the dog is straight, so what? He's entitled to the same benefits as straight people (for now). Why are you going to apologise for him? I wouldn't. I merely stated in response to that article gay sex and dog sex is not the same thing. The US military, whos leaders study and follow the workings of Alexander (great military leader) must also be gay. Since your logic is 'associate with', Alexander was in a time where many men were married to women but also had relations with young men. Does that make the US military controlled by 'gays through association'? OSOC - you clearly have no argument here. You know what you know and that is all you want to know. I encourage you to read more than just your conservative propaganda.
  • by Samantha Location: Washington on Jun 17, 2009 at 09:21 AM
    Obama Snake Oil Co, Homosexuality and Beastiality are two totally and completely different things. Gay people fall in love with another person, and cannot control it. The way you fall in love with another person and cannot control it. The two homosexual people can consent, whereas an animal cannot, seeing as how it cannot speak, and is a complete different species. Do not liken the two, they are separate in many ways.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Jun 17, 2009 at 06:51 AM
    Derek, some how you have gone beyond gay is OK. Gay is not OK and I don't "owe" for a sexual preference of perversion. So the guy who had sex with dogs posted here should have the same rights then? Its no different, the dog consented, do we owe him an apology?
  • by Rob Location: NC on Jun 17, 2009 at 05:59 AM
    Some else to make these neo-conservative rednecks foam at the mouth. Good for the LGBT population.
  • by Derek Location: Greenville on Jun 17, 2009 at 05:16 AM
    So Bob, are you suggesting that gay people are not entitled to the same benefits as straight people? what is this equal but separate? So what if the economy is in the crapper, are you wanting to deny some Americans the same rights as others? what are you a proponent of second-class citizens? We are all in this together, whether you like it or not. Or you can make the case that: - if a gay person is not entitled to the same benefits as a straight person, then they should be exempt from the taxes that are used to pay for the "straight person benefits". That's like buying a gallon of milk and only getting an empty plastic container.
  • by Bob Location: Belhaven on Jun 17, 2009 at 04:31 AM
    Well here we go, economy in the crapper and he is increasing benefits that will cost untold amounts to implement. This done to appease his supporters and increase political graft for his idiot vp Biden! Of course Hillary is also holding pensions hostage until she gets her way...she is a joke!!!

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