Gay federal employees in Texas and across the nation currently do not receive the same benefits afforded to heterosexual federal employees and their spouses. In many situations, the same-sex partner of a federal employee is forced to pay for expensive insurance through private plans or must forgo health insurance entirely. There is great financial risk to the latter option, as a serious illness could cause severe financial problems for an individual.
In an effort to assist these couples and to attract skilled workers into public service, a bill has been introduced called the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligation Act. If passed into law, the bill would extend health insurance and other workplace benefits to federal employees and their same-sex partners. Currently, 86 percent of Fortune 100 companies offer equal health benefits to employees with same-sex partners, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
One of the senators who introduced the bill said, “This change is both fair policy and good business practice. The federal government must compete with private sector when it comes to attracting the most qualified, skilled, and dedicated employees. Today, health, medical, and other benefits are a major component of any competitive employment package. Indeed, private sector employers are increasingly offering these kinds of benefits as standard fare.”
Same-sex partners who wish to protect their property and financial rights can speak to a qualified family law attorney. The drafting of a domestic partnership agreement can cover financial rights as well as parental rights for couples who choose to have children together through a surrogate, artificial insemination, or adoption.
Source: Think Progress, “Senate Takes Significant Step With Domestic Partnership Benefits Bill,” Ben Harris, May 17, 2012