President Obama Signs LGBT Partner Benefits Memo

Jun 17, 2009 6:57pm

ABC News’ Yunji de Nies and Sunlen Miller report: Calling it, “a day that marks a historic step towards the changes we seek,” President Barack Obama signed a presidential memo that will extend (limited) benefits to the same-sex partners of gay and lesbian federal workers.  

“Many of our government’s hard-working, dedicated, and patriotic public servants have long been denied basic rights that their colleagues enjoy for one simple reason — the people that they love are of the same sex,” he said. Still, the President acknowledged “this is only one step.”

Surrounded by members of Congress, along with several lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) rights activists in the Oval Office, the President said that he is limited in the benefits he can extend, due to legal constraints under the Defense of Marriage Act.  He has pledged to overturn that law, and today repeated that promise.

“I believe it’s discriminatory, I think it interferes with states’ rights, and we will work with Congress to overturn it,” the President said. “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. I’m committed to these efforts, and I pledge to work tirelessly on behalf of these issues in the months and years to come.”

But many in the gay and lesbian community aren’t happy with the President.

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