- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 17, 2009

President Obama Wednesday night will sign a presidential memorandum adding domestic and same-sex partners of federal workers to the long-term care insurance program and approving sick leave for the workers to take care of same-sex partners and non-biological children.

It also will allow partners of Foreign Service employees to use medical facilities at posts abroad and to be included in housing, a change from previous policy.

The White House said Mr. Obama’s memorandum will direct the Office of Personnel Management to issue guidance on compliance with nondiscrimination laws by Sept. 17 and will order sweeping internal reviews of executive branch departments and agencies to see if other benefits could be similarly extended.

The document is the culmination of a review done by OPM and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton into which benefits may be extended to same-sex partners in the civil and foreign services within existing federal law.

The administration is making the move as Mr. Obama faces criticism for not repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” as he promised on the campaign trail. The policy, implemented under President Clinton, bans openly gay people from serving in the military.

Under the policy, gay Arabic translators have been dismissed, and some are angry with Mr. Obama since the White House has not intervened in the pending cases of military officials facing courts martial under “don’t ask-don’t tell.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has said Mr. Obama is working with the Pentagon to change the policy.

The Associated Press reported that some gay Democratic donors withdrew from an upcoming fund-raiser with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in protest over a June 12 Justice Department brief defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

Gays and lesbians also were angry Mr. Obama did not campaign against California’s Proposition 8 initiative banning same-sex marriage. The administration has also been silent on the legalization of gay marriage in several states, including Iowa and New Hampshire.

But Mr. Obama did win plaudits for opening up the White House Easter Egg Roll to gay and lesbian families and for sending administration officials to speak at a gay pride rally this month in Washington.

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