According to a Washington Post report, the bill was sponsored by US Representative Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) who is openly gay. The measure, which has 52 co-sponsors, defines a domestic partner as an adult living with, but not married to, another adult “in a committed, intimate relationship.” The bill would entitle domestic partners “to benefits available to and obligations imposed upon a spouse of an employee,” according to the news report.
In defining benefits, the bill would make available health insurance, life insurance, pensions and worker’s compensation to domestic partners of the same and opposite sex.
“The time has come for the federal government to recognize the changing workforce and value its employees,” Frank said in a statement. “Corporate America is way out in front of the government because they know it is good business.” Frank called it “an issue of fairness” to give non-married government workers the same rights as their married colleagues.
Frank said more than 8,000 employers across the nation provide domestic partner benefits. In addition, he estimated that more than 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and 150 state and local governments offer benefits to same-sex partners.
The lawmaker introduced a similar measure in 2003 (See Federal Domestic Partner Benefit Legislation Introduced ).