Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME)
Lieberman, Collins Domestic Partnership Bill Moves Forward

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com May 16 2012 10:38 AM ET

A bill to extend benefits to same-sex domestic partners of federal civilian employees cleared an early hurdle in the Senate on Wednesday.

The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, sponsored by senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, was approved by the Senate's Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee. If it makes its way long way to the president and is signed, the legislation would provide the same benefits that married heterosexual spouses receive, such as participation in some retirement programs, life and health insurance benefits, and family and medical leave.

Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese said the government should follow most of corporate America, which already offers such benefits. "Equal workplace policies, like those DPBO would enact, will help attract and retain the best and brightest talent, which is exactly what our federal workforce needs," Solmonese said in a statement. "We call on the full Senate to pass DPBO."

The bill would have a tough time clearing the GOP-controlled House.