House Committee votes in-favor of benefits for LGBT families

Today was a great day for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(LGBT) equality in the U.S. Congress as the House Committee on
Oversight and Government Reform voted 23-12 in support of the
Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act
(DPBO), H.R. 2517. The bill will now go to the House floor for a
full House vote.

If enacted, DPBO would extend benefits to LGBT-headed families of
federal employees. This includes critical benefits for families,
such as health insurance and retirement savings. Currently,
fifty-nine percent of Fortune 500 companies, 22 states, the
District of Columbia, and over 150 local governments make benefits
available to LGBT employees and their same-sex partners. Yet LGBT
federal employees do not have access to such benefits, thereby
resulting in compensating them at a lower rate than their peers for
equal work. The President voiced strong support for DPBO in June
when he signed a Presidential Memorandum extending certain benefits to
families of LGBT federal employees at an Oval Office ceremony
attended by Jennifer Chrisler

Data from the 2000 U.S. Census shows that approximately 20% of LGBT
Americans are parents, raising roughly 2 million children across
the U.S. In a society where health insurance and other benefits are
so closely tied to employment, enactment of DPBO is a critical step
forward in ensuring the economic stability and success LGBT parents
and families.

“The mission of Family Equality Council is to help LGBT people
create and protect happy, healthy families. At the foundation of a
healthy family is economic security, which includes the ability to
earn a living and provide for each other, especially in critical
times for families such as illness and death. All American families
face challenges, especially in today’s economic climate. But LGBT
families encounter unique obstacles when trying to protect our
children and our loved ones. Today’s vote is a great steps
towards addressing some of these complex realities. There is still
more progress to be made to support the widely diverse families
that live and work in this country. Family Equality Council
applauds the President and today’s Committee members who support
LGBT families, and we look forward to continuing to push the
Administration and Congress to make DPBO and other important bills
valuing all families into law.” states Executive Director
Jennifer Chrisler.

The U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor postponed its vote
on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), H.R. 3017,
originally scheduled to take place today. A new date has not yet
been scheduled.