A news release on Lieberman’s Web site said
that under the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations
Act of 2007, a federal employee’s same-sex domestic
partner would be eligible to participate in federal
health benefit, Family and Medical Leave Act, long term
care, insurance, and retirement benefit programs.
Employees and their domestic partners would also be
subject to the same obligations that apply to married
employees and their spouses, such as anti-nepotism rules
and financial disclosure requirements.
The Senators introduced similar legislation in the last session of Congress (See Bill Introduced to Offer Benefits to Same-Sex Partners of Federal Workers ).
Based on the experience of private companies and state and local governments, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that offering benefits for same-sex domestic partners of federal employees would increase the cost of those programs by less than one half of one percent.
The release noted that more than half of Fortune
500 companies and almost 10,000 other companies provide
benefits to domestic partners. So do hundreds of state
and local governments – including Connecticut and Oregon
– and scores of colleges and universities.
“It’s time for the federal government to catch up to the private sector, not just to set an example but so that it can compete for the most qualified employees and ensure that all of our public servants receive fair and equitable treatment,” said Lieberman, in the release. “It makes good economic and policy sense. And it is the right thing to do.”
“The federal government should be leading the way rather than following when it comes to providing benefits,” Smith said in the release. “Rights and benefits must be afforded to all employees equally. This bill corrects the current inequity.”