A bill introduced
by Republican senator Gordon Smith and Independent
senator Joe Lieberman along with 19 cosponsors would grant
domestic partner benefits to federal employees.
Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act for 2007,
federal employees and their domestic partners would be
eligible for federal health benefits, the Family and
Medical Leave program, long-term care, insurance, and
retirement benefits, according to a statement released
Wednesday by Smith and Lieberman. Same-sex couples would
also assume the same obligations that apply to married
employees and their spouses, such as antinepotism
rules and financial disclosure requirements.
for the federal government to catch up to the private
sector, not just to set an example but so that it can
compete for the most qualified employees and ensure
that all of our public servants receive fair and
equitable treatment," Connecticut's Lieberman said in
the statement. "It makes good economic and policy
sense. And it is the right thing to do."
federal government should be leading the way rather than
following when it comes to providing benefits,"
Smith, an Oregon senator, said. "Rights and
benefits must be afforded to all employees equally. This
bill corrects the current inequity."
The two senators
introduced similar legislation during the previous
session of Congress.
Based on the
experience of private companies and state and local
governments, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated
that offering benefits to same-sex domestic partners
of federal employees would increase the cost of those
programs by less than one half of 1%. (The Advocate)