Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

June 20, 2014

Proposal would make same-sex partners eligible under Family and Medical Leave Act

WASHINGTON — The Labor Department issued a proposed rule Friday stating that any employee is eligible for leave to care for a same-sex spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act regardless of whether they live in a state that recognizes their marital status.

"The basic promise of the FMLA is that no one should have to choose between succeeding at work and being a loving family caregiver," said Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. "Under the proposed revisions, the FMLA will be applied to all families equally, enabling individuals in same-sex marriages to fully exercise their rights and fulfill their responsibilities to their families."

Administration officials did not specify how many individuals would be affected by the proposed rule. But given the large number of Americans who regularly take advantage of the federal benefit, it could have an impact on thousands of families.

Due to FMLA's scope, the Labor Department rule would apply only to private-sector employees. The Office of Personal Management issued its own proposal Friday extending the same benefits to federal employees.

The proposed rule is the latest effort by the Obama administration to extend federal benefits to same-sex couples since last year's Supreme Court decision striking down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The ruling in that case, Windsor v. the United States , found that gay couples married in states where it is legal must receive the same federal health, tax, Social Security and other benefits that heterosexual couples receive.

Later Friday, the Justice Department will issue the findings of its year-long review of how the Windsor decision affects other federal benefits. In almost all instances, same-sex married couples will receive the same federal benefits and obligations as their heterosexual counterparts, regardless of where they live. For example, the Defense Department now offers the same benefits to same-sex and heterosexual couples, and the Health and Human Services Department has published guidance dictating that any insurance companies providing spousal coverage must make the same plan available to same-sex spouses.

The two exceptions are Social Security and veterans benefits, which are determined based on the law where individuals live, as opposed to where they celebrated their marriage. Several gay and civil rights groups, including the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union, have been pressing lawmakers to extend those federal benefits to same-sex couples.

Human Rights Campaign spokesman Fred Sainz called the administration's application of the Windsor decision to federal policy is "easily the largest conferral of rights, benefits and obligations to gay and lesbian Americans in our nation's history."

On Friday, the administration will call on Congress to pass a handful of bills - sponsored by Democrats - aimed at extending those benefits to same-sex couples in states that don't recognize gay marriage. It comes just four days after the White House said the president will sign an executive order barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

James Esseks, who directs the ACLU's Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, said Congress needs to pass legislation so that "LGBT Americans who have been paying into the [Social Security] system for decades" can take advantage of it.

"We look forward to working with the administration and Congress to fight for full equality and recognition for all couples and turn the final page on DOMA's ugly, discriminatory chapter in our history," Esseks said in a statement.



 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.12.33 PM.png Gunshots narrowly miss TV reporter

    A reporter for a West Virginia television station narrowly escaped injury or worse Monday while covering a fatal weekend shooting in Beckley.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 25 hidden secrets in "Weird Al's" "Word Crimes" video

    Yankovic's 14th album was released this week, and it warms my heart containers that he's kept up his geeky brand of humor for so long. While he has written so many incredible songs, none have spoken to my love of proper grammar.
    Until "Word Crimes."

    July 16, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks