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March 13, 2009

Obama Faces Wedge Issue on Paying Federal Benefits to Same-Sex "Partners" of Civil Workers

Tough decisions. It was so much easier to compose vague rhetoric cynically designed to make everyone think he agreed with them, eh?

Just seven weeks into office, President Obama is being forced to confront one of the most sensitive social and political issues of the day: whether the government must provide health insurance benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

In separate, strongly worded orders, two judges of the federal appeals court in California said that employees of their court were entitled to health benefits for their same-sex partners under the program that insures millions of federal workers.

But the federal Office of Personnel Management has instructed insurers not to provide the benefits ordered by the judges, citing a 1996 law, the Defense of Marriage Act.

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama said he would “fight hard” for the rights of gay couples. As a senator, he sponsored legislation that would have provided health benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

...

Now, Mr. Obama is in a tough spot. If he supports the personnel office on denying benefits to the San Francisco court employees, he risks agitating liberal groups that helped him win election. If he supports the judges and challenges the marriage act, he risks alienating Republicans with whom he is seeking to work on economic, health care and numerous other matters.

But does he have a choice -- isn't Obama bound by the law? Don't worry; liberals are suggesting he just ignore it. Sort of like Constitution-shredding George Bush.


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posted by Ace at 02:59 PM

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