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This just came to my attention and it's a big deal, not least because it could, in theory, affect my partner and me at some point.

Elaine Kaplan, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Administration has issued a memorandum granting the same benefits to married gay and lesbian couples as are already available to heterosexual married couples.

It appears these benefits are available to any or lesbian federal employee in a state-sanctioned same-sex marriage, even if they live in a state where that marriage isn't recognized.

A bit more beyond the squiggle.

I'm very impressed at how quickly this is coming to fruition; Section 3 of DOMA's been gone for only a bit more than 48 hours.

The biggest deal of course is health benefits, but it also relates to survivor annuities, life insurance, the children of spouses not currently federal employees (who were previously viewed by OPM as being legal strangers to the employee) and a variety of other things of a more pedestrian nature (such as the ability to use paid sick leave to care for an incapacitated spouse). In some cases there are deadlines for electing coverage; in some of those cases the deadlines are short (60 days) while in others they are expansive (up to two years).

My partner TrapperSF and I aren't currently married and can't do so just quite yet. We live in California where Prop 8, though tossed out by the Supreme Court, is not yet officially dead because it will take not less than 25 days from the date of the Court's decision for that to happen MAJOR UPDATE: while I was involved in writing this diary, the Ninth Circuit lifted the stay. Marriages will start happening in moments if they haven't already begun! (I personally don't think the defenders of Prop 8 will succeed even in obtaining a stay [even less so now!], much less a new hearing and I doubt that the courts will hesitate to lift the stay once the 25-day waiting period has ended but...you never know). We've been together for over 11 years and while that's not an inconsiderable period of time, there is no "right" amount of time to be together before one weds. There certainly are reasons to hesitate; it's a pretty darned big commitment to make after all. At the same time, knowing that he could be covered by my health insurance if need be is a very significant thing for me, as I know it is for him. After all, isn't one of the biggest parts of being in love wanting to know that your partner will be okay?

I am inclined to think that today's announcement is going to give a significant number of gay and lesbian federal employees who are in committed relationships reason to at least strongly consider getting married if they are able to do so, even if it means traveling out of their home state for the privilege. It would have been nice if the memorandum would have referenced what happens to couples not currently married who decided to take that step, but I presume the normal policy guidance covering such eventualities would apply, just as it would to newly-married heterosexual couples. Additional information has been promised and I hope it appears sooner rather than later.

One other certain outgrowth of the OPM memorandum: numerous right-wing heads exploding. And that, I must admit, will not bother me at all.

The fight is by no means over (and of course we must not let this victory distract us from the week's significant losses foisted on us by the same Supreme Court) but we certainly are going to see some big changes for the better. Each positive change will undoubtedly provide impetus for the next positive change.

Originally posted to sfbob on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:57 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality.

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