WASHINGTON - AFGE National President John Gage submitted a testimony today in favor of H.R. 2517, the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009. The Act would present same-sex domestic partners of federal government employees with equal benefits granted to spouses of married federal employees.
The union strongly supports the introduction of S. 1102 by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and H.R. 2517 by Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). “It is imperative that this legislation be passed,” Gage commented. “This is a matter of equality that needs to be addressed.”
Under H.R. 2517, same-sex domestic partners of federal government employees would be required to file a legal statement with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). OPM is the agency responsible for confirming shared financial responsibility within the home, which will determine partner eligibility. Once eligible, partners would be able to access the basic rights to benefits including healthcare, retirement, workers’ compensation, death and disability, and all other benefits granted to spouses of federal employees.
“Within the private sector, many companies already have extended these benefits to same-sex partners. Withholding benefits in the public sector will affect recruiting among the next generation of employees. It is now time for the federal government to step up. We support the enactment of H.R. 2517 for equality among the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community,” concluded Gage.