Senators Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Susan Collins of Maine reintroduced on Friday a bill that would extend some benefits to the gay partners of federal employees.

Lieberman called the measure the “next step to achieving equity for the gay community” after last year's repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the law that for 18 years banned gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.

“We repealed the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy in the military because we want the best men and women America has to offer to defend our country. The same is true for federal employees: we want to attract the best men and women possible to serve in federal government. One way to do that is by offering competitive benefits to the family members of gay federal employees,” Lieberman said in a statement.

“This legislation makes good economic sense. It is sound policy. And it is the right thing to do,” he added.

Collins argued that such benefits are commonplace among Fortune 500 companies.

Lieberman and Collins have introduced the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act in the past two Congresses.