Bil Browning

Berry: Why Obama admin is denying lesbian couple benefits

Filed By Bil Browning | December 06, 2009 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: domestic partner benefits, John Berry, John Klenart, Obama Administration, OPM, Tammy Baldwin

Much has been made of the Obama administration's decision to defy a California judge's order that they enroll a lesbian federal employee's partner as her health-insurance beneficiary. While Alex called the struggle "a power battle between the judiciary and the executive" in a post about the issue, openly gay Director of the Office of Personnel Management John Berry says it's not so simple. Yesterday at the Victory Fund's Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute, a participant asked Berry why his office had specifically instructed Blue Cross/Blue Shield not to comply with the judge's order.

The administration has 30 days to comply with the request, but Rep Tammy Baldwin's Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act is quickly working its way through Congress. If they can get it passed in the House and sent to the Senate, I'm sure they could use that to leverage quick passage in the Senate and satisfy the judge that they're complying - not just in a single case but for all federal employees.

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Gee, you would think that after the Rental Truck Equality Memorandum, that was such a huge breakthrough for LGBT rights, the administration would welcome the opportunity to move forward again.

Apparently, as in the case of DOMA, not so much...

Boy, I for one am overwhelmed by the fierce advocacy.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | December 6, 2009 6:21 PM

Because he's a bigot and got elected.

Impressive! Now it all makes sense!

Thanks, Auntie Tom! Maybe we don't need ENDA right away either since you have a job and it won't help other people if only only you are employed.

In fact, following that logic, you should probably quit your job, shouldn't you?

Recent events make it apparent that the "openly gay" Obama administration appointees are vetted to be sure they are queerslings --- they will kiss Obama's butt under all conditions and won't think about doing anything that a self-respecting gay man or lesbian might do in a position of power. They are tokens to placate us, not unlike the occasional little meaningless tea parties that Obama throws for us every so often, the ones that the HRC crowd fawns over so lightheadedly.

patrick, above is correct: Had John Berry any balls, he would have resigned instead of following the White House instructions, and then made a big stink of it in the media.

But then, where's a queersling to find a new job in an economy like this?

"... queerslings"!


Yeah, I don't get how he said that it wasn't a power struggle between the judiciary and the executive. The Justice Department agrees with him that he has the authority to do this. Fine. Another executive branch agency thinks he does, while the judge seems thoroughly convinced that he doesn't.

Anyway, I thought saying that it was a power struggle between the two branches was the complicated version. The simple version is just to say that Obama's a homophobe and is looking for ways to deny LGBT people benefits.

I suggest you stop letting McDonalds advertize on Bilerco in light of recent "faggot" situation. Ty

planesdrifter | December 7, 2009 8:15 PM

Never ceasing to disappoint on GLBT issues it would seem, this administration has been keen at keeping their eyes focused on only a very few big picture issues in the first year of Obama's presidency, but keep in mind the man is only at best a political moderate and it's our hopes that have elevated him in our minds to the stature of a progressive. When our political spectrum has been skewed so far to the the right that reactionaries are considered moderates and religious dogma is pretense to the laws of this land, it's difficult to endure more insult from those that claim to be our friends.