Obama on Spot as Rulings Aid Gay Partners

Mar 13, 2009 | Posted by: Rick in Kansas | Full story: www.nytimes.com

Just seven weeks into office, President Obama is being forced to confront one of the most sensitive social and political issues of the day: whether the government must provide health insurance benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

In separate, strongly worded orders, two judges of the federal appeals court in California said that employees of their court were entitled to health benefits for their same-sex partners under the program that insures millions of federal workers.

But the federal Office of Personnel Management has instructed insurers not to provide the benefits ordered by the judges, citing a 1996 law, the Defense of Marriage Act.

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama said he would “fight hard” for the rights of gay couples. As a senator, he sponsored legislation that would have provided health benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

Now, Mr. Obama is in a tough spot. If he supports the personnel office on denying benefits to the San Francisco court employees, he risks agitating liberal groups that helped him win election. If he supports the judges and challenges the marriage act, he risks alienating Republicans with whom he is seeking to work on economic, health care and numerous other matters.

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Since: Nov 08

Roanoke, VA

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#1
Mar 13, 2009
 

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Let us hope that President Obama stands by his campaign promises. I listened and voted for him, now it is his turn.

Since: Mar 07

Washington DC

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#2
Mar 13, 2009
 

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Gonna have to call "Bullshit" on you, Mr. Bauer...
FROM THE ARTICLE: Gary L. Bauer, president of American Values, a conservative advocacy group, said that if Mr. Obama extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers, he would “provoke a furious grass-roots reaction, reinvigorate the conservative coalition and undermine his efforts to portray himself as a moderate on social issues.”
Polls show that most Americans (while ignorant and stupid about gay marriage) consider health care benefits for same-sex partners a non-issue. Please, by all means, let's see this "furious" reaction you're talking about...

“Brutally honest. ”

Since: Nov 08

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#3
Mar 13, 2009
 

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The question is, what is the right thing to do, Mr. Obama?
Equality for ALL

United States

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#4
Mar 13, 2009
 

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De ja vu all over again... Remember Clinton? We shouldn't hold our colective breath.
Michael

Netherlands

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Mar 13, 2009
 

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I'm not holding my breath. The guy has sent us every sign he could that our issues are not high on his priority list. If he does anything, it will likely be a Clinton-esque approach, which tends to do more harm than good.
Rainbow Kid

Alpharetta, GA

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#6
Mar 13, 2009
 

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Its not a tough decision at all. Take it by the numbers:

1. first on the agenda: Full Citizenship Civil Rights Equality for all citizens.

2. second on the agenda: make religious and non-profit institutions either get out of politics or pay property taxes.

3. third on the agenda: Show the Republicans how to deal with the economy, health care, and the numerous other items that elude them.

“THERE IS NO GOD”

Since: Feb 09

Northern California

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Mar 13, 2009
 

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whitefalcon1678 wrote:
The question is, what is the right thing to do, Mr. Obama?
ALAN: Everyone knows what the right thing to do is, even Bible reading pew warmers know. For me the question is, is Mr. Obama going to do the right thing. I don't know how he can live with himself if he doesn't.

“THERE IS NO GOD”

Since: Feb 09

Northern California

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Mar 13, 2009
 

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Rainbow Kid wrote:
2. second on the agenda: make religious and non-profit institutions either get out of politics or pay property taxes.
ALAN: While taxing the church is a good idea no matter what, can Obama really risk pissing off all the Pew Warmers?

“THERE IS NO GOD”

Since: Feb 09

Northern California

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Mar 13, 2009
 

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Rainbow Kid wrote:
2. second on the agenda: make religious and non-profit institutions either get out of politics or pay property taxes.
ALAN: Taxing the church is a good idea. But can Obama really afford to anger the Pew Warming, Bible reading ignorant biblicists?

Someone else is going to have to get the ball rolling on taxing the church.

“a cat is fine too”

Since: Nov 07

Denver

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#10
Mar 13, 2009
 

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it's not like this will have any affect on republican support. they've already demonstrated that they intend to stomp there feet and scream at anything he tries to do.

“equality for ALL means ALL”

Since: Jan 07

Fort Lauderdale FL

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Mar 13, 2009
 

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whitefalcon1678 wrote:
The question is, what is the right thing to do, Mr. Obama?
That's exactly what I was going to say.
nanotech

Grand Rapids, MI

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Mar 13, 2009
 

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Blk and Str8T wrote:
<quoted text>
Look at this narcissistic gay. Of all the things that are at the top of the list this gay dude says equality for all and destroying churches. With all the people losing their jobs and an economy in the toilet all this gay guy can think about is playing house with his boyfriend and destroying churches because it tells the truth of the perverted gay lifestyle.
This is exactly why you gays always lose, your to damn selfish and self indulgent to your own community and not the US community as a whole and the numbers show it.
I can't wait for prop 8 to be upheld and see all the whining on this site and name calling. Then your gonna have to turn right back around and get the votes of the very people you disrespected. Get ready for a lot of hetero(voter) ass kissing (but ya'll gays like that right?)
Yup, another fundie on the down low.. Hate filled, bitter and longing....
parkview

United States

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To: Blk and Str8T Rainbow Kid is EXACTLY correct in his commentary as I support his view. The church in totality should not have their cake and eat it too. If you stand to comment about civil situations then pay the dues. We in the government dare not dictate to the religious community that they need to follow the government policy so why should this issue be a one way street???

In addition President Bush was left with a SURPLUS when President Clinton left office. Clearly in those eight years the Republics did nothing to improve the quality of life for the American people. You can say that we have not been attacked in eight years but you have devastated two counties, America and Iraq, in those same years.

It is the gay population whose asses you will be kissing when Prop 8 is overturned! So I hope as a straight (?) man will like the opportunity that YOU will be receiving!!!!

“laugh until your belly hurts”

Since: Dec 06

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Mar 13, 2009
 

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Blk and Str8T wrote:
<quoted text>
Look at this narcissistic gay. Of all the things that are at the top of the list this gay dude says equality for all and destroying churches. With all the people losing their jobs and an economy in the toilet all this gay guy can think about is playing house with his boyfriend and destroying churches because it tells the truth of the perverted gay lifestyle.
This is exactly why you gays always lose, your to damn selfish and self indulgent to your own community and not the US community as a whole and the numbers show it.
I can't wait for prop 8 to be upheld and see all the whining on this site and name calling. Then your gonna have to turn right back around and get the votes of the very people you disrespected. Get ready for a lot of hetero(voter) ass kissing (but ya'll gays like that right?)
uh... please explain how churches staying out of politics will destroy them?
Blk and Str8T

United States

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Mar 13, 2009
 

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parkview wrote:
To: Blk and Str8T Rainbow Kid is EXACTLY correct in his commentary as I support his view. The church in totality should not have their cake and eat it too. If you stand to comment about civil situations then pay the dues. We in the government dare not dictate to the religious community that they need to follow the government policy so why should this issue be a one way street???
In addition President Bush was left with a SURPLUS when President Clinton left office. Clearly in those eight years the Republics did nothing to improve the quality of life for the American people. You can say that we have not been attacked in eight years but you have devastated two counties, America and Iraq, in those same years.
It is the gay population whose asses you will be kissing when Prop 8 is overturned! So I hope as a straight (?) man will like the opportunity that YOU will be receiving!!!!
And this is exactly why your ilk continue to lose nation wide and multiple times in Cali. You live in your own narcissistic reality where you never lose and everyone is going to answer your bidding just because. You can pretend if you want like the Supreme Court Justices weren't irritably verbally backslapping every speaker you put up.

And in case you didn't know DOMA is still on the books and Prop 8 is not a proposition anymore it's the LAW. Get over it and get real.

“laugh until your belly hurts”

Since: Dec 06

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Mar 13, 2009
 

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Blk and Str8T wrote:
<quoted text>
I tried to engage in debate and conversation all you can do is project your lower nature upon me just like every other gay..........sad really and shows that there is some type of psychological issue going on with gays in general. Matter fact most of you can't even deal psychologically with someone disagreeing with you without having gay tantrums of bigot, closeted and homophobe.
Go see a psychologist and fix that gay dude, for real.
once again, please explain how calling somebody names and putting them down can be construed as 'trying to engage in conversation and debate'.
Ken

United States

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Mar 13, 2009
 

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Rainbow Kid wrote:
Its not a tough decision at all. Take it by the numbers:
1. first on the agenda: Full Citizenship Civil Rights Equality for all citizens.
2. second on the agenda: make religious and non-profit institutions either get out of politics or pay property taxes.
3. third on the agenda: Show the Republicans how to deal with the economy, health care, and the numerous other items that elude them.
I have to disagree on this list, RK.

The economy has to come first. As long as it's in a tailspin, it doesn't matter what benefits, rights or privileges anyone has. Without a job, none of it matters.

As for taxing the churches, I think the guidelines need to be clearer on when they can safely partake in political action, and when they have crossed the line. If they cross the line, then tax them.

I agree we need full equality under the law for all citizens, regardless of ANY aspects of who they are. However, I think there are much bigger fish that need to be fried immediately (aka, economy, budget) in order to make a better framework for addressing the social issues that we also need addressed.

I know Obama has "promised" to provide us with full citizenship, but in the course of politics, promises, sadly, cannot always be fulfilled to the expectations of those to whom they were made.

I think Obama needs to address this issue as a stand-alone issue in the bigger picture, until the more dire issues have been sufficiently addressed. He could even use this issue to advance his healthcare platform, while providing us with equal healthcare coverage. There are MANY ways he can work this to make everyone happier, even though some will not be totally happy.

Since: Jul 07

Cincinnati, OH

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Mar 13, 2009
 

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Blk and Str8T wrote:
<quoted text>
I tried to engage in debate and conversation all you can do is project your lower nature upon me just like every other gay..........sad really and shows that there is some type of psychological issue going on with gays in general. Matter fact most of you can't even deal psychologically with someone disagreeing with you without having gay tantrums of bigot, closeted and homophobe.
Go see a psychologist and fix that gay dude, for real.
The "I dish you and then bitch about the reply" routine is a bit old.

Please try and come up with something new. For heavens sakes it's Friday and I need you jerks to entertain me.

“Protestant, Gay, Libertarian”

Since: Apr 08

Long Island, NY

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#21
Mar 13, 2009
 

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Michael wrote:
I'm not holding my breath. The guy has sent us every sign he could that our issues are not high on his priority list. If he does anything, it will likely be a Clinton-esque approach, which tends to do more harm than good.
I agree. Clinton DID do more harm than good with his infamous DADT policy.

And Obama has said REPEATEDLY that he does NOT FAVOR EQUALITY for gay people !
Will

Baltimore, MD

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Mar 13, 2009
 

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Blk and Str8T wrote:
...And in case you didn't know DOMA is still on the books and Prop 8 is not a proposition anymore it's the LAW. Get over it and get real.
Agreed. DOMA is indeed still on the books and, BY LAW, has to be presumed to be constitutional, REGARDLESS what a 9th circuit appeals court judge acting as a mediator thinks of DOMA's constitutionality.

There is NO fundamental right to health benefits; homosexuals are NOT a suspect class under federal law.

Laws that neither involve a fundamental right nor a suspect class are constitutionally valid so long as they can be supported by a rational basis.

It is rational for Congress to affirm by means of DOMA the common understanding that Congress contemplated all of the marriage benefits that it has authorized would go exclusively to traditional heterosexual monogamous marriages.

In DOMA, Congress has merely exercised the legislative prerogative to make legislative classifications and to decide whether to pay benefits to certain legislative classifications.

This is no different and no less constitutional than the legislative classification involving whether or not the government decides to pay for abortions.

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