50 sponsors introduce bill for federal employee domestic partner benefits
A story published today by 365gay.com reports that legislation was introduced in the House on Wednesday that would allow non-married employees of the federal government to apply for benefits for their long-term partners - the same rights already given to married employees.
The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, HR 3267, introduced by Rep Barney Frank (in photo), has more than 50 cosponsors.
It would allow non-married partners of federal employees to apply for benefits such as health insurance, retirement benefits, life insurance and compensation for work injuries.
"The time has come for the federal government to recognize the changing workforce and value its employees," said Frank.
"Corporate America is way out in front of the government because they know it is good business. The federal government needs to understand this and allow unmarried employees the ability to take care of their families."
Frank estimates that the cost of the measure will be low because most insurance companies now charge the same rate for domestic partners as they do for legal spouses.
"This is an issue of fairness," the Congressman said. "Non-married people working for the federal government should be given the same right as their married counterparts. There is simply no good reason to discriminate among employees in committed relationships."
At the end of 2004, roughly 45 percent, or 234 companies on the Fortune 500 were providing domestic partner coverage -- a tenfold increase from 1995 when just 21 Fortune 500 companies offered the coverage. Nationally, at least 8,277 employers voluntarily offer domestic partner benefits for their employees.