Senate To Advance Domestic Partnerships Bill This Week

The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is set to mark up legislation on Wednesday that would ensure equal federal employee benefits for same-sex couples in domestic partnerships.

The bill — S. 1910: Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act — is sponsored by the committee’s chairman, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), its ranking member, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), and 21 other Democrats.

“The Senator expects this bipartisan bill to pass out of committee,” a Lieberman aide told TPM in an email Monday.

The markup dovetails a conversation about gay rights sparked by President Obama’s newfound support for same-sex marriage, which he announced last Wednesday. Republicans have refrained from making hay of the issue, and at least one respected GOP pollster warns that support for gay rights is rising at an accelerating rate.

According to a summary by Lieberman, “Under the bill, same-sex domestic partners of federal employees living together in a committed relationship would be eligible for health benefits, long-term care, Family and Medical Leave, and federal retirement benefits, among others.”