President Obama will sign a presidential memorandum on Wednesday to extend benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, administration officials said Tuesday evening, but he will stop short of pledging full health insurance coverage.
Could the Obama administration possibly be ANY MORE incompetent when it comes to gay issues? Let it leak that you're going "extend federal benefits" to the partners of gay federal employees, hope that this move mollifies furious gay rights organizations and activists still reeling from your DOMA betrayal, and THEN announce that—sorry!—the package of benefits doesn't include the single most important work-related benefit: health insurance.
UPDATE: I'm reacting in real time, as I read this story at the NYT and analysis on the blogs. Guess what? It's not an executive order, it's just a "presidential memorandum," which means this directive expires when Obama leaves office. Such fierce advocacy. So brave. And the package was pulled together not because the Obama administration had a secret plan all along to protect and expand the rights of gays and lesbians. Nope. The whole thing was hastily pulled together to save the DNC's big gay fundraiser next week. That's it. The White House admits to the NYT that this isn't about principal. It's damage control:
But administration officials said the timing of the announcement was intended to help contain the growing furor among gay rights groups. Several gay donors withdrew their sponsorship of a Democratic National Committee fund-raising event next week, where Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is scheduled to speak.
This administration, the Congress and the DNC need to see the LGBT ATM shut down. NOW. That June 26 LGBT DNC fundraiser is toast. No one is buying a partner benefit plan that doesn't include health insurance, for god's sake.
As Keshmeshi helpfully points out in comments, Obama can't extend health care benefits to federal employees himself:
Mr. Obama will be weighing in for the first time on one of the most delicate social and political issues of the day: whether the government must provide benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. While he will announce a list of benefits, officials said, they are not expected to include broad health insurance coverage, which could require legislation to achieve.
Which brings us back to sheer insulting incompetence of this idiot maneuver. Why announce a bold plan and an Oval Office signing ceremony for a something-or-other that will "extend federal benefits" to the partners of gay employees... when that package does not include the only workplace benefit that most people can name off the tops of their fucking heads: health insurance? This is your big gesture to mollify your gay critics? This is designed to calm the waters in the wake of your DOMA betrayal? When I wrote earlier tonight that the federal benefits Obama is extending "are by no means trivial," I was naturally operating under the assumption that these benefits would include health insurance. They do not. What benefits will federal employees enjoy the day after tomorrow anyway? Discounted entrance fees to our national parks?
And will Obama send legislation up to Capitol Hill to extend HEALTH BENEFITS to the partners of gay federal employees? The same president who talked such good game—"all that's required is leadership"—on ending DADT and has done fuck all since taking office? The same president who said "I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples" and then turned around and argued that the states could ban gay marriage to save money? That guy is going to get legislation through Congress awarding health benefits to gay couples? I kinda doubt it, don't you?
This is worse than insulting. This is outrageous, another slap in the face, salt in the wound left by last week's DOMA betrayal. Fuck the Obama administration. That DNC fundraiser next week has to be shut down.