Tammy Baldwin Will Introduce Federal Employee Domestic Partnership Bill This Month

baldwin-tammy-2004The U.S. House of Representatives sole lesbian member will introduce a bill targeted at providing gay federal employees many of the same rights as their straight co-workers in a domestic partnership bill timed to join up with a matching Senate version of the bill sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman (CT-Independent) and Susan Collins (ME-R). U.S. Rep Tammy Baldwin intends to drop the Domestic Partner Benefits & Obligations Act bill this month.

The Washington Blade reports:

“The bill would grant the partners of gay federal employees the same benefits that are available to the spouses of straight employees. Versions of the bill considered in the last session of Congress would have granted benefits such as access to health benefits, life insurance and disability…

“I know that as the author of this measure,” Baldwin said, “we have to continue to educate for both marriage equality and equal employment benefits for domestic partners, and it’s important in that educational process to have the facts about how the current state of inequality affects those in same-sex partnerships.”

The Center for American Progress report, written by CAP associates Ben Furnas and Josh Rosenthal, draws attention to three Social Security benefits that are denied to gay couples, even if they are married in a state that recognizes same-sex unions.

The three benefits are: the spousal retirement benefit, which enables a spouse to receive one-half of their partner’s benefits upon retirement in lieu of their own benefits; the spousal survivor benefit, which entitles a spouse to take their partner’s entire benefit after their death; and the lump-sum death benefit, which entitles a surviving spouse to receive a $225 lump-sum payment to pay for funeral arrangements.”