WASHINGTON (CN) – President Obama ordered the heads of all executive branch agencies to extend as many benefits as current laws allow to the families and partners of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered federal employees.
“For far too long, many of our Government’s hard-working, dedicated LGBT employees have been denied equal access to the basic rights and benefits their colleagues enjoy,” the president said.
Obama identified several examples of benefits that could be extended, including the recognition that the children of employees’ same-sex domestic partners fall within the definition of “child” for purposes of federal child-care subsidies and services and that, for purposes of employee assistance programs, same-sex domestic partners and their children qualify as “family members.”
The president added that benefits provided to employees’ spouses and children must be provided at an equivalent level to employees’ same-sex domestic partners and children.
Obama’s decision does not extend benefits to the families of members of the armed services. The president called on Congress to pass legislation overturning the current “don’t ask don’t tell,” policy which prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the military.