Friday, June 19, 2009

HRC Statement on Signing of Presidential Benefits' Memorandum

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HRC President Calls Signing "Only the Beginning" in Achieving Full Equality for LGBT Community

WASHINGTON -- Today, in an Oval Office signing ceremony, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum granting non-discrimination protections and some same-sex partner benefits for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender federal employees.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement tonight after the ceremony:
"Moments ago in the Oval Office, President Obama signed a memorandum committing his Administration to adhere to principles ensuring that the federal workplace is free from discrimination, including the extension of some benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers. This first step granting benefits such as giving federal employees the ability to provide their partners with access to long-term insurance and requiring supervisors to extend leave policies so that LGBT employees can take care of their loved ones, is a welcome and long-overdue movement towards bringing the government’s policies in line with the overwhelming majority of America’s businesses.

Earlier today, OPM Director John Berry affirmatively stated that this newly signed presidential memorandum will give him the authority to ban workplace discrimination for all members of the LGBT community.

Although today’s actions are only the beginning in what will be a multi-step process towards achieving real and tangible equality for our community, it is no doubt an important first step. We commend President Obama and his administration for taking this action to provide some basic benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees and his endorsement of legislation that would provide domestic partner health benefits.

Presidential leadership can be a powerful tool as we work to protect LGBT people under the law and President Obama’s continued leadership is what we need and expect as we move forward.”

Prior to today's ceremony, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued this statement

"Today's Presidential memorandum committing to a federal workplace free from discrimination, including the extension of some benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers, is a welcome and long-overdue step toward bringing the government's policies closer in line with what America's largest companies understand is good for business. Today’s presidential signature is the first brick in paving what is a long path toward equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.

We commend President Obama and his administration for taking this beginning step to level the playing field but we look forward to working with him to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, overturn 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' and guarantee the entire American workforce is free from discrimination."

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  1. When it comes to gay rights, the difference between Bush and Obama is a bit like the one between Bush and Blair when it came to Iraq.

    He's still way behind. True, he's not behind current public opinion, but he's behind future opinions. Obama's actions will be interpreted as "We need to understand--he was a man of his time."

  2. I completely agree. For someone who was supposed to be a leader, a fierce advocate on these issues, he has been a disappointment.

  3. I'm curious about how it is in America. Is it so that the discrimination law doesn't work for gay rights? It seems like that reading your article.