Thursday, March 12, 2009

Will he or won't he do the right thing?

The NY Times reports:
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.


JCF said...


It's depressing to think that this is even a "tough" choice.

Sometimes, Right vs. Wrong is difficult to know and/or difficult to do.

This isn't one of those times. :-/

IT said...

In the discussion about this (which for complicated reasons is an employee tribunal, NOT a court case with precedent attached) one of the judges said,

“A bare desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot provide a rational basis for governmental discrimination,” Judge Reinhardt wrote.

Fine words.

Words are cheap.

IT said...

O/T , anyone heard from James? He's been silent over at TTLS and some of us are a little worried....

TheraP said...

I wrote about this as well. My take is that it is insane to tie health care to a job or one's marital or sexual orientation status: Health Care per Person - NOT per Employer!

We need one simple refrain: Health care, a civil right, for each man, woman, and child!

Read the rest here:

I can see similar issues jump out at us, IT!

Cany said...

The republicans already have NO interest in supporting or working with Obama. Their new party title is The Grand Obstructionist Party (still GOP).

He really shouldn't pay them any mind, he should work to get the votes he needs and torpedo DOMA.