Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will work to ensure that gay and lesbian Americans are eligible to take leave from their jobs to care for a same-sex spouse, regardless of whether they live in a state that recognizes gay marriage, the White House said Friday.
President Barack Obama is directing the Labor Department to start drafting rules making clear that the Family and Medical Leave Act applies to same-sex couples, allowing gay and lesbian employees to take unpaid leave to care for a sick spouse regardless of where they live. The move comes three years after the Obama administration stopped defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which lets states refuse to recognize gay marriages performed in other states.
The White House is promoting the move as part of Obama's push to expand protections for gays and lesbians by allowing same-sex couples to take advantage of the same federal benefits available to married heterosexual couples.
To that end, the Justice Department also plans to announce it has completed a review that Obama ordered to assess what legal benefits can be extended to gay couples. Already, Obama has moved to ensure gay couples have equal access to health insurance, immigration privileges and tax benefits, the White House said.
But the White House said there are a few benefits that current law prohibits the federal government from granting to same-sex couples. Hoping to end that limitation, the Obama administration is calling on Congress to pass legislation removing those prohibitions.
Democratic members of Congress already have introduced bills expanding protections for gays and lesbians related to Social Security and veterans' benefits, the White House said.
- As Ferguson verdict is read, protesters in...
- Grand jury won't indict Ferguson cop in shooting
- Ferguson businesses torched in overnight...
- In New Zealand, feud over fate of 1902 corpse...
- Latinos are 'very optimistic' about America's...
- Why Salt Lake City is one of the best cities...
- At least 17 killed in Egypt by building collapse
- Thanksgiving trumps Black Friday for deals
- As Ferguson verdict is read, protesters... 63
- Grand jury won't indict Ferguson cop in... 30
- Obama: Americans want 'new car smell'... 29
- Fact check: Obama's claims on illegal... 18
- Winners and losers under Obama's... 18
- Under pressure, Hagel steps down as... 15
- Boehner: 'We will not stand idle' on... 14
- Obama immigration plan good, not great... 13