• Obama Expands Federal Rights, Giving More Benefits To Gays

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    From The WashingtonPost.com:

    In the past year and a half, President Obama has quietly used his powers to expand federal rights and benefits for gays and lesbians, targeting one government restriction after another in an attempt to change public policy while avoiding a confrontation with Republicans and opponents of gay rights.

    The result is that scores of federal rules blocking gay rights have been swept aside or reinterpreted by Obama officials eager to advance the agenda of a constituency that strongly backed the president’s 2008 campaign.

    Among the changes: Gay partners of federal workers will now receive long-term health insurance, access to day care and other benefits. Federal Housing Authority loans can no longer consider the sexual orientation of applicants. The Census Bureau plans to report the number of people who report being in a same-sex relationship. Hospitals must allow gays to visit their ill partners. And federal child-care subsidies can be used by the children of same-sex domestic partners.

    On Wednesday, the Labor Department is expected to announce that federal officials have rethought the Family and Medical Leave Act, concluding that under the law, a gay federal employee may take leave to care for a child with a gay partner.

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