Skip Nav
Our Favorite Books of the Year (So Far) — You Won't Be Able to Put Them Down!
These Seasonal Flowers For a Fall Wedding Will Take Your Breath Away
13 Signs You're Obviously the Favorite Sibling

Should Federal Workers Get Benefits For Same-Sex Partners?

Barack Obama is between a liberal rock and conservative hard place. Two federal appeals judges have ruled that court employees have a right to health benefits for their same-sex partners. But, the federal Office of Personnel Management maintains that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prohibits such benefits.

Benefits are awarded to the spouse of a federal employee, but according to DOMA a spouse must be of the opposite sex. Gay employees say they are denied equal compensation because they cannot extend benefits to their partners. The cost of doing so would be $670 million over 10 years.

The White House has yet to comment on whether it will help the judges enforce their orders, a move that would upset conservative allies. But a spokesman did say that "While the president opposes gay marriage, he supports legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. He believes this country must realize its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."

Do you think benefits should be extended?


Join The Conversation
kh61582 kh61582 8 years
I said yes...and I'm a conservative...Here's my thing I'm for civil unions. I just don't approve of changing the definition of marriage for religious and traditional reasons. I have no problem with civil unions and I have no problem with their partners receiving benefits.
Michaelrcks Michaelrcks 8 years
Not unless they're married.
philipcfromnyc philipcfromnyc 8 years
"Only if ALL public sector employees lost their benefits would such a measure seem fair..." should have been "Only if ALL PRIVATE sector employees lost their benefits would such a measure seem fair..." PHILIP
philipcfromnyc philipcfromnyc 8 years
I don't agree with the subscriber who believes that all federal workers should lose their benefits (as a reflection of the pain that many private-sector employees currently feel)... Sure, many private sector jobs are being axed, and many private sector employees face tax cuts and possible loss of benefits -- but a blanket policy or statute prohibiting all federal workers from receiving benefits would not help the economy at all. Only if ALL public sector employees lost their benefits would such a measure seem fair. The single most expensive benefit is health insurance (the USA and South Africa remain the only First World democracies whose governments do not offer their citizens comprehensive health insurance coverage). Stripping employees (public sector employees or private sector employees) of their health insurance would cause the number of visits to emergency rooms to soar, would inflict needless suffering on children, and would deprive those people who are chronically ill and who require medical care in order to live (let alone work) of a vital lifeline. The American people have been subjected to a barrage of effective propaganda denigrating single-payer health insurance provided by the government. I now live in the UK, and I can state from personal experience that the quality of the health care that I receive from the National Health Insurance (NHS) (of which the UK is justifiably proud) is BETTER than the quality of the medical care that I received in New York -- and I had very generous health insurance coverage whilst living in the US. Those people who mock and denigrate "socialized medicine" deliberately cherry pick the worst examples of delays and failures in the NHS and portray those failures as the norm (which they most certainly are not). My father, who is a British citizen, became very ill in 2004, and suffered from a methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection of one of his lower spinal vertebrae. He underwent three complex and difficult surgeries, which both saved his life and restored his mobility and quality of life. All of his medications are paid for by the NHS (as are mine). The quality of the care he received (including extensive follow-up care) was outstanding. I suffer from a complex, highly lethal (if not treated) connective tissue disorder that causes me a great deal of pain and discomfort (when I am not properly medicated). I have received absolutely wonderful care from the NHS, including CT scans, echocardiograms, and comprehensive care from specialists. I pay nothing for my (numerous) medications. I would not trade this in for the package I received in New York under any circumstances, and this is one of the reasons I decided to settle permanently in the UK. Thanks to those who enjoyed my message about the conservatives who passed the DOMA! PHILIP
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
LMAO!!!! You go phillipcfromnyc, that's what I call a WWF smack down baby.
beavis667 beavis667 8 years
Sure, I agree with that.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
Well said, Michelin!
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Beavis, I see where you're coming from. I think the solution is to cut government jobs and government programs, not to cut benefits for those government jobs which are necessary.
beavis667 beavis667 8 years
There is plenty of wasteful spending in health and human services. Welfare reform would go a long way, but the BHO's spendulus bill limited states from getting bailout money if they cut H&HS. A little welfare reform would be enough that we wouldn't have to ponder public sector workers losing benefits or their jobs. Big education is another area with alot of waste. Nobody is willing to make cuts there either. Some tough decisions need to be made like I said. Unfortunately, the easy one seems to be raising taxes.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
Of course they should have the same benefits, I can't imagine anyone who would say no. javsmav, my best friend's fiance's company has the same thing, and I think it's great!
notoriuskitty notoriuskitty 8 years
I don't see why federal employees would not get benefits for their partners. This country really needs to stop being so discriminatory. I thought this was where we could be free, yet our government puts restrictions on so many things. In my opinion, same sex partners should have the same rights as opposite sex partners.
beavis667 beavis667 8 years
That wasn't a very clear point on my end...I'll go a little further. The revenue stream coming into the government from the private sector is X. They use it to pay for lots of things, pay salaries, etc, but in the end, the government is fed by the private sector. The private sector is producing that which is bringing money into our country, and producing things of value. X is what the private sector pays to make government happen. Some of that X is recycled through in payroll and income taxes by government workers, but it's still X coming in. X is less now with folks being out of jobs in the private sector. Many of the folks still helping pay for X have deminished benefits. Government needs X to be increased to keep the same level of operation...thus further taxing those lucky enough to still have jobs in the private sector. I don't think it's right to do that. Some tough choices have to be made to keep X the same number. Some things need to be cut, and the government needs to learn to live within its means better. I don't like the notion of family and friends who have public sector jobs losing benefits, but it's only fair. Why raise the burdon on the private sector to keep X the same number?
beavis667 beavis667 8 years
Sure, but their salaries are being paid by the private sector. Your point that both private and public sector employees get taxed equally is well noted, but in the end, the public sector employees are getting their money from the private sector. That's a static revenue stream into a zero sum game.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
People who work for the government get those same taxes.
beavis667 beavis667 8 years
I don't know Michelann, but the private sector is suffering, and government is raising taxes so that it can't feel the same pain...further taxing those in the private sector who still have jobs. The public sector's pain should mirror the private sector's pain. Plenty of folks in the private sector are losing benefits too.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
"If the couple enter into a civil union, absolutely." Civil Unions aren't recognized by the Federal government so other laws would have to change for this to happen. Even if a state recognizes civil unions, those couples still do not have FEDERAL rights. Because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), same-sex couples in marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships in the U.S. do not have the 1,138 rights, benefits and privileges that federal law gives to a married couple.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Beavis, what quality of workers do you think the government would get if they weren't paying out benefits?
beavis667 beavis667 8 years
I think in this economy, federal workers of any orientation shouldn't have any benefits. The private sector is suffering, and they pay for the public sector.
jnj213 jnj213 8 years
phillipcfromnyc: I totally agree with you. It's just really disturbing that we don't even give people the option of getting benefits on a federal level. There's no reason that same sex couples shouldn't be entitled to benefits married couples, or common law couples can get. I think we should just have 'domestic partnerships' for everyone, gay or straight as far as the government is concerned and leave marriage to it's religious roots. A nice clean separation of church and state.
javsmav javsmav 8 years
Modus Vivendi -My ex's company offered benefits for unmarried partners--same sex or opposite sex. There were all sorts of little hoops you had to jump through--live together for a year, have a joint bank account, things like that. Things you may not want to do just for a roommate (I love my friends, but I would not merge my money with any of them). so yeah, it's possible that people could abuse the system, but the fed gov't could enact restrictions (red tape is its specialty, no?) on granting benefits for unmarried partners to make sure that doesn't happen.
philipcfromnyc philipcfromnyc 8 years
The so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) is an obscene piece of legislation that deprives gay and lesbian Americans of our right to the equal protection of the laws -- a right granted to all Americans by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The politics behind the passage of the DOMA would do credit to the finest French farce. This measure was crafted by Representative Bob Barr, who failed to pay child support for the children of his first marriage, who financed an abortion for his second wife (whilst proclaiming himself to be "pro-life"), and whose third marriage collapsed after he was photographed licking whipped cream off the breasts of two strippers at a fundraiser. This measure was supported by Newt Gingrich, also a marriage veteran with three marriages under his belt; he served his first wife with divorce papers as she lay recovering from ovarian cancer surgery (he could not face her alone, so he brought along his two unsuspecting daughters); needless to say, he had been having sex the woman who would become his second wife whilst still married to his first wife. This pattern was repeated -- Gingrich cheated on his second wife for at least seven years before leaving her for his third wife. (Incidentally, that seven year period included the time during which the Republican Party pursued Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.) This measure was also supported by the late Representative Helen Chenoweth, who had an affair lasting six years with a married man, and who then resorted (on being found out) to her own form of moral relativism, insisting that she hadn't committed adultery (technically correct, given that she wasn't married, but I do seem to recall biblical teaching about deliberately leading others into sin). Then there was proud DOMA supporter Sonny Bono, who sacrificed his relationship with his own daughter for the sake of political expedience (Chastity Bono is gay, and stopped talking to her father after he cast this vote); Sonny was married ; Bono was married and divorced three times, and committed adultery whilst married to his first wife (Cher was his second wife). Sonny's life ended when he skiid into a tree whilst high on Vicodin. On an on goes the list of moral hypocrites and political prostitutes who voted to "defend" marriage from those terrible homosexuals, even as they lied and cheated in their own marriages, none of which they could sustain for more than a few years at a time. For these are honorable men; all of them honorable men... PHILIP CHANDLER
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
If we allow all couples who are not in a civil union to have the same benefits, then yes. Otherwise, it's discrimination.
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
If the couple enter into a civil union, absolutely.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
I'm really curious to hear from the 10% that said no....:ponder:
luna08 luna08 8 years
I agree with hypnoticmix. Until marriage rights are passed, (which, jeeze, HOW long is that going to take already?!), couples should receive benefits upon proof of partnership. Benefits are fair, but you don't want to open the door for general fraud.
Obama Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco Interview
Former Obama Official on Trump Hiring Lawyers
President Trump and Obama Use Similar Langauge and Words
Joe Biden's Favorite Obama Bromance Meme
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds