June 17th, 2009
06:47 PM ET
13 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. Whatz up

    Folks need to cool out. Little steps are better than NO steps at all.

    Everyone wants instant gratification, without understanding the hurdles involve in changing decades of "red tape". President Obama is taking baby steps and that is better than what previous Presidents have done.

    Let's all relax and let the man do his job and stop with all the whining and complaining.

    Jesus, what a bunch of cry babies.

    June 17, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  2. Lauren

    Why do same sex couples think the election was all about them and their needs. They seem to forget there are other people in this country other than them.

    June 17, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  3. Hussen

    Someone will again go out and seek new beginning with muslim world! Whoever is against Islam is in the war with muslim.

    June 17, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    It's time for Congress to get off their collective duffs and get this legislation started and passed. There is no excuse for their inaction. The Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask Don't Tell need to be repealed and the government should legalize and recognize same-sex marriage AND/OR domestic partnerships.

    June 17, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  5. m smith

    Every time I would like to comment on an article it is already closed. amazing!!

    June 17, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  6. Change does not come overnight.

    Well done, Mr. President. While it is only the beginning of your actions for gay rights in the short time you've been in office, I am confident that there will be more to come.


    June 17, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  7. Robert

    Obama's made mentions of same sex couples. Now Obama does a legislative deep for the contingency. Marriage is definately a word in the dictionary.

    June 17, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  8. E. Hays

    This is not right, and goes against everything decent we used to have in this country. We are letting the gay rights people dictate to us, and the time will come very soon when we say ENOUGH! I resent very much my tax dollars being spent for benefits for the gays. I could go into the religious aspect of it, but I won't go there.

    June 17, 2009 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  9. TCM

    Obama – immoral, unAmerican, socialist....pandering to the deviant groups in American to secure future votes.....well, Obama, if you don't start taking care of the country in a free market manner, and stop trying to fund a nanny-state, you won't have a country in 2012! We're doomed at the current rate of reckless spending that's amassing from this incompetent administration.

    June 17, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  10. The Bu

    Why is the GLBT group THE ONLY people raising hell because the President has not done what THEY have wanted him to do? It has been six months folks. We have three and a half more years (hopefully seven and a half) of his presidency. As an African-American, I'm sure there are some things that people in the African-American community want to happen, but we're allowing the President to prioritize. I think it's a bit premature to begin to dump on the President when he has so much other stuff going on (Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, the economy, healthcare, overhauling the financial industry, etc.). All I am asking of the GLBT community is to give him an opportunity and let him do his job. There is a long line of people who need stuff and it's not going to hurt any of us to be patient.

    June 17, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  11. Larry S

    i am so tired of seeing this black man signing documents that are not in the best interest of the USA. What a shame in the direction he is dragging down America. There was a lot of comments about the intelligence of Bush . . . well America . . . what a surprise the current BO has extensive ignorance. If someone does not agree, please provide some prove of any intelligence. The key word here is "PROOF".

    June 17, 2009 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  12. Le Roi

    As a black man, I believe all men and women deserve same rights to marry each other. Obama does not need to fear the biggots who would not vote for him anyways. He is now president. We are waiting for you Obama to do what's right. Remember you would not exist if those biggots had it their way, for they use the same excuses for interracial marriages.

    June 17, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  13. sam

    There are more pressing issues than this. Everyone wants something. The prez have a lot on his plate and you want something and they want something. Come on guys. Now, just look and see, the gop is going to take this and run with this just for political gain.

    June 17, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  14. vence

    Mr obama is late in giving this long denied rights. It's too lite too late for this sector of population that make him win the presidency. let's see if delays the immigration reform in the same way. At this point I'm not sure of the change Sleepy Obama promised from Incompetent Bush.

    June 17, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  15. Vic in VA

    Hope this policy applies to heterosexual unmarried couples as well, with or without children, if this is about equal rights and not political pandering to a particular constituency. And in case you're wondering, I'm an Obama supporter. And an independent,

    June 18, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  16. gmoney

    God help us. Please......

    June 18, 2009 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
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