Tip of the hat to ABC News for this one:
ABC News has learned that tomorrow President Obama will sign a presidential memorandum extending benefits to the same-sex partners of gay and lesbian federal employees.
The move was long planned, sources say, though it comes at a time that gay and lesbian supporters of the president are expressing anger and disappointment at his inaction on rescinding Don’t Ask/Dont Tell, his opposition to same-sex marriage, and his support for the anti-same-sex-marriage Defense of Marriage Act in a legal brief that compared same-sex unions to incestuous ones.
The decision is a political nod to a reliably Democratic voting bloc that in recent weeks has grown frustrated with the White House’s slow movement on their priorities.
Several powerful gay fundraisers withdrew their support from a June 25 Democratic National Committee event where Vice President Joe Biden is expected to speak. Their exit came in response to a June 12 Justice Department brief that defended the Defense of Marriage Act, a prime target for gay and lesbian criticism. Justice lawyers argued that the law allowed states to reject marriages performed in other states or countries that defy their own standards.
And some more from the NYTimes:
John Berry, the highest-ranking gay official in the administration and the de facto human resources chief for the administration, told a gay rally last weekend that Obama planned to take action on benefits soon.
Berry, who heads the Office of Personnel and Management, has repeatedly told reporters that he expected the White House to turn to legislation to give domestic partners access to federal health and retirement plans.
But Obama so far has sent only one piece of legislation to the Hill — a pay-as-you-go measure that is part of his wooing of fiscally conservative Democrats.
Instead, Obama will use his signature instead of legislation to achieve the benefits parity sought by same-sex couples.
And a Happy Pride Month to some.
Now, about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Mr. President.
Really, though, this represents a huge step forward for civil rights.