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Hey Obama, We’ve Got Another One For Ya: The Family Leave Insurance Act


Among the things President Obama can do for gays right now? Urge Congress to pass H.R. 1723, otherwise known as the The Family Leave Insurance Act of 2009. Why’s it important to us?

Aside from amending the current FMLA to “provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave benefits to workers who need to care for an ill family member or new child, or to treat their own illness,” it would also — get ready! — expand the benefits to gays!

The new FMLA would force employers to provide leave for employees who need to care for an ailing domestic partner or that partner’s child, a benefit the current law doesn’t provide.

Though, notes Proud Parenting, “it is unclear whether, in every instance, the FMLA would cover the child of a same-sex partner or spouse if the employee is not the child’s legal parent. Employers are not mandated by the FMLA to provide an employee leave for the birth and care of a child to which an employee is not a legal parent unless a local court determines it to be so.” We’re not looking for any rights that heteros don’t receive already, so children who aren’t legally our own perhaps don’t need to be included. The only problem? Some states ban gay couples from adopting, meaning the child of a gay family may only have one parent legally recognized, and thus FMLA could never apply to them. People in heterosexual couples, meanwhile, have the adoption of adopting their partner’s child in every state.

The day before Congress voted on the Matthew Shepard Act, Obama released a public statement urging legislators to pass the bill. Maybe he can jump in on the act a little earlier this time, if only to make good on some of that lip service he fed the gays while campaigning. After all, the FMLA fits in perfectly with Obama’s health care promises.