President Obama has reiterated his
support for a bill that would extend benefits to the gay spouses of
“I think it's the right thing to do,”
the president said Thursday during a town hall style meeting in
The legislation would make the
unmarried partners of gay and lesbian federal employees eligible for
certain benefits previously denied because the Defense of Marriage
Act (DOMA), a law that prohibits the federal government from
recognizing gay unions, bars such benefits. DPBO would carve out an
exception to the law.
“Regardless of your personal
opinions, the notion that somebody who's working really hard for 30
years can't take their death benefits and transfer them to the person
that they love the most in the world and who has supported them all
their lives, that just doesn't seem fair.”
Key Senate and House committees have
already OK'd the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of
2009 (DPBO), but neither chamber has scheduled a full vote.
The bill was introduced in both
chambers in May. Openly lesbian Wisconsin Representative Tammy
Baldwin sponsored the House version, while Connecticut Senator Joseph
Lieberman introduced the measure in the Senate.
In June, Obama signed an executive
order that extended some domestic benefits to gay spouses. During
the signing ceremony, Obama stated his full support for the bill.