Joe Solmonese, president of the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), suggested last week that the federal
government treats pets better than gay spouses.
a statement released on the group's blog, Solmonese said:
“Current law puts federal workers' parrots ahead of their partners.
It is time for Congress to act to put people first and extend health
care benefits equally to all of their employees.”
The president of the nation's largest
gay rights group was referring to the fact that federal workers can
buy into insurance policies for their pets, but not a gay or lesbian
Legislation sponsored by Connecticut
Senator Joseph Lieberman in the Senate and Wisconsin Representative
Tammy Baldwin in the House that would end the inequality has cleared
committees in both chambers but awaits floor action.
Under the Domestic Partnership Benefits
and Obligations Act of 2009 (DPBO), the spouses of gay and lesbian
federal employees would be eligible for certain benefits, including
health benefits, currently barred by the Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA), the 1996 law that prohibits federal agencies from recognizing
A Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
survey estimates that .33 percent of federal employees would choose
to register a gay partner.
President Barrack Obama has stated his
support for the bill. But neither Senate Leader Harry Reid or House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi have signaled interest in tackling the measure
before the November midterm elections.