President Obama has reiterated his support for a bill that would extend benefits to the gay spouses of federal employees.

“I think it's the right thing to do,” the president said Thursday during a town hall style meeting in Tampa, Florida.

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.