Yes, we can ... ?

by Aman Singh Das | June 17, 2009

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President Obama is expected to announce extending health care and other benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees today. A core point in his campaign for presidency, gay and lesbian rights were projected to be forefront on his agenda. Of course, this is great news for the roughly 1.8 million federal workers, albeit the announcement is expected to stop short of extending complete health insurance coverage.

GLBT issues have been rendered to the second and third tier of priorities for many presidencies and this evasive announcement seems well-timed to quiet the growing protests at President Obama's silence. New York Times today quotes Richard Socarides, an advisor to the Clinton administration on gay rights, expressing the issue succinctly as the president "promis[ing] the moon" and doing "nothing so far." In light of his high campaign promises, this is but a slight step.

Some perspective, however, allows the argument of "something is better than nothing." Contending that the president has a bevy of issues on his plate to deal with (including getting 9.6% of Americans back into the workforce) besides living up to all his campaign promises, this then is a step in the right direction.

But what about the other 304.2 million Americans? In a struggling economy, where most people are willing to accept a job offer without questioning the accompanying benefits, will the rest of America's employers be willing to extend these benefits to same-sex partners eventually? Does your employer offer benefits to spouses and partners alike? How important would this be in your job search when many workers are forgoing asking for health insurance to guarantee that monthly paycheck?

Filed Under: CSR

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