The 2009 Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations
Act (H.R. 2517) would provide all of the employment benefits made available to
the spouses of heterosexual federal employees, including health insurance,
retirement, disability, and other benefits (see Bill Would Extend Other Benefits to Fed Employees’
Same-sex Partners ). The provisions apply to partners of current
employees, former employees, and retirees.
The committee adopted amendments offered by Representatives
Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) establishing reporting
requirements for the legislation. Chaffetz’s amendment would require the Government
Accountability Office to report two years after the bill’s implementation on
how it has affected federal employees’ health care premiums, while Quigley’s
amendment requires similar reports on the legislation’s effect on federal
recruiting and retention.
According to Govexec.com, Republican committee members
argued that the measure is an inappropriate extension of benefits to a small
subset of federal employees at a time when unemployment is rising. They also
said such a move would threaten the definition of marriage as a union between a
man and a woman, and could open the door to fraud by people of the same sex who
simply wanted access to benefits.