June 17th, 2009
06:47 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama order grants some benefits to same-sex couples


WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama signed an executive order granting some benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees Wednesday, calling it "a historic step" but promising more action to come.

"We've got more work to do to ensure that government treats all its citizens equally, to fight injustice and intolerance in all its forms and to bring about that more perfect union," Obama said.

The signing followed sharp criticism of the president over a Justice Department motion filed last week in support of the Defense of Marriage Act - which effectively bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions.

Obama said he still wants to repeal the act.

"I believe it's discriminatory. I think it interferes with state's rights, and we will work with Congress to overturn it," he said.

The memorandum he signed Wednesday means same-sex partners of civil service employees can be added to the long-term care program, employees can use their sick leave to take care of domestic partners and children and same-sex partners of Foreign Service employees will be included in medical evacuations and housing allocations, according to the White House.

But it does not cover full health-care coverage, which would require an act of Congress, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Full story

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Carramea55@aol.com

    Face it the gay community will never be happy until they get gay marriage. Sorry I am a moderate but will never support that. Civil Unions , rights for the partner yes. In the most primitive society with no Christianity or Islam to rule, men and women get married.

    June 17, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. Lori

    This is a step above what any Republican has or would ever do. Just because one poll says that Republican have become more open to gays and lesbians serving openly in the military doesn't mean they are for gay rights. it just means that they know we need more members in our military and the law is ridiculous. President Obama has more work to do in his fight for equality for gays and lesbians but he's a million steps ahead of any Republican politican on this issue (aside from Cheney who when he had 8 years to change the laws he didn't but NOW that he's out of office supports gay marriage).

    June 17, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  3. Jasmine in Germany

    It's a step in the right direction. Sexual discrimination is discrimination.

    June 17, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  4. stormerF

    Does this mean they have to prove they are Married?If they are not then NO go.Otherwise all the girl friends and or would get the same consideration.

    June 17, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. Joanna in PA

    Everyone relax! Obama has not been in office 6 months yet. There is a lot to be done. Gay rights is very important, he knows it. Gibbs already said before that he was working on the gays in the military about a months or so ago. Sure, he can sign an executive order to reverse don't ask don't tell, be that could be easily over turned. Please understand that he will fix that horrible law.

    And NO people being gay really isn't a choice. That is a fact whether you accept or not. Just like you can not choose what color you are born or what sex you are born. Do your homework. The bible BTW, will reflect anything you want it too if you twist it hard enough.

    I can see why religious originations want marriage only for a man and women. I get it. But a man and a women who get married through the courts or government shouldn't be allowed to be "married" either than.

    June 17, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  6. Loup Garou 782

    Is it possible that barkey obama is planing to become a same sex couple in the future and is setting up some protection.This guy is lower than Whale crap.

    June 17, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. LacrosseMom

    Good. About time.

    June 17, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  8. Lori asks GOP why 40% of Americans r ideologically conservative yet only 21% of Americans are Republican? People must really hate the GOP!

    To any gay and lesbian who wants President Obama to move super fast on this... I say, just vote Republican next time. As Meghan McCain believes the Republican party is sooo much better with homosexual rights (LOL). Cheney was in power for 8 years yet did nothing to help the gay and lesbian community but is speaking out NOW when he can't do a darn thing about it. Let Obama do his job. As President, he's the gay and lesbian communities strongest ally ever.

    June 17, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  9. catmom

    Hey, it won't please a lot of people but at least it is a start.

    June 17, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. Jay

    I wonder how the intolerant Arian Republicans are going to react to this. Their blood must be boiling right now.

    June 17, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  11. Dan, TX

    Both the far left and far right want their way right now, and if you disagree with them, you should be shot.

    When will the people of common sense (the middle that are neither liberal nor conservative (I mean wacko conservative, not real conservatives). I am a real conservative – not a republican – I am an atheist, pro-choice, and I am quite comfortable calling myself a conservative).

    I voted for Obama – no other reasonable candidate.

    I am disappointed we haven't seen the Health care debate on CSPAN with the different interest groups explaining what they want. That is transparency, but we haven't seen it. Does CSPAN not want to do it?

    June 17, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  12. Demarcus Jackson from Columbia, TN

    As a proud and open Gay American and firm supporter of President Obama, I applaud this decision. Gay leaders who are sour about this issue DO NOT speak for me. I, like most commonsense Americans, understand how challenging change is and how much time change takes. It is not going to happen overnight. Give Obama time to get these cultural/social issues together and stop barking down his throat. The man has been in office for less than a year and we want him to move mountains and rivers! Give me a break.

    June 17, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. FORMER REPUBLICAN

    For those that are having a problem with what president Obama
    is doing for the Gays, economy, health care, & all concerns of
    the American people, we can always dig up another Bush, if you
    please. What the hell is the matter with you people?
    After 50 years of neglect in every sector of the "American Dream",
    President Obama is expected to fix it all as if it were a package of
    instant pudding. Get a grip on reality, roll up your sleeves & help.

    June 17, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  14. Gays got nothing, zero, zip.....

    Obama showed his true animosity towards gays today by not giving health care or retirement benefits to gays and their partners.....

    Further, he did not get rid of the "don't ask don't tell provision" and...

    Obama only recognizes marriage as between a man and a woman....

    Glad you voted for him???? He's a fraud. Gays would have gotten more from Dick Cheney who is much more liberal on the issue.

    June 17, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  15. Jared

    It wasn't an executive order.

    June 17, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  16. Ridgeway

    Oh well. Most of health care expense goes to addictions, drugs, alcohol, smoking, food, sex, gay sex, more gay sex....

    June 17, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  17. Truth B Told

    I guess you will be able to marry your dog next and get health insurance on him.

    June 17, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  18. wishing

    For those who feel this is too little too late... Too late? You would prefer that he not do it because it is too late to do it. ?? Think.

    June 17, 2009 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  19. SnowBird

    Could I have coverage for my eight wives?

    June 17, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  20. peggy

    speaking of healthcare problem if this country would get rid of the millions of illegals out of our country there would not be a health care problem

    June 17, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  21. Obama sees gays as sub-human.....

    Obama says gays can't marry since marriage is only between a man and a woman....

    Obama says no health or retirement benefits for partners of gays....

    Obama says keep the "don't ask don't tell" rule and kick gays out of the military that do tell....

    Obama obviously sees gays as less than human with no rights...
    what a guy...I pity the gays who voted for him....

    June 17, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  22. Stevik

    This announcement is an insult to the gay community, which voted overwhelmingly for Obama! These are crumbs being thrown to a vital constituency. We're not idiot, Mr. President!

    June 17, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  23. nota dem

    Thanks Obama give away my tax dollars to gays who only support the destruction of the USA, Obama youy are a communist and muslim that is taking the role of the anti-christ, revelations 1, only thing that is missing is your white horse.

    June 17, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  24. Brett

    it is already benfits for every gay worker in government, why does he need to sign AGAIN?

    ohhh.. D loves to confused people.

    June 17, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  25. Charles

    I wonder how many homosexual voters would prefer a pro-gay neocon (Dick Cheney) to a big talker on gay rights who delivers almost no results (Barack Obama).........interesting to think about, impossible as it may be.

    June 17, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
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