The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act is intended to “provide the same family benefits to lesbian and gay federal civilian employees as are already provided to employees with different-sex spouses.”
So of course the Religious Right doesn’t like it because a) it undermines “traditional marriage,” b) it costs money, and c) it discriminates against straight couples who aren’t married:
Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land criticized the proposal both before and after the committee’s vote.
“Most Southern Baptists believe that the only relationship that should be defined by its sexual nature and should have special benefits accrued to it is heterosexual marriage,” said Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Nov. 25. “Thus, we oppose granting domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples, as well as heterosexual couples who are living together outside of marriage. This bill discriminates against heterosexual couples living together outside of wedlock in that it only grants domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples. We have made it clear we are opposed to both.”
Of course, straight couples could always get married in order to receive benefits, which is something that gay couples obviously cannot do or else this legislation would be entirely unnecessary. But never ones to miss an opportunity to scream “discrimination,” the Right is opposing the bill because it would supposedly discriminate against straight couples.
And if the bill did cover straight couples … well, then they would have opposed that too because that would just encourage people not to get married, thus further undermining the institution of marriage.
And for good measure, opponents are claiming that the definition of “domestic partner” is too vague:
The measure’s vagueness is a problem on a number of fronts, Republicans charged. For instance, [Rep. Darrell] Issa said, “Nearly any two individuals of the same sex could qualify as ‘domestic partners’ under the bill as long as they are not direct relatives, meaning not family in the conventional sense.”
True, provided that “any two individuals” were willing to declare under penalty of law that they”share responsibility for a significant measure of each other’s common welfare and financial obligations” and intend to remain together indefinitely:
(b) Certification of Eligibility- In order to obtain benefits and assume obligations under this Act, an employee shall file an affidavit of eligibility for benefits and obligations with the Office of Personnel Management identifying the domestic partner of the employee and certifying that the employee and the domestic partner of the employee–
(1) are each other’s sole domestic partner and intend to remain so indefinitely;
(2) have a common residence, and intend to continue the arrangement;
(3) are at least 18 years of age and mentally competent to consent to contract;
(4) share responsibility for a significant measure of each other’s common welfare and financial obligations;
(5) are not married to or domestic partners with anyone else;
(6) are same sex domestic partners, and not related in a way that, if the two were of opposite sex, would prohibit legal marriage in the State in which they reside; and
(7) understand that willful falsification of information within the affidavit may lead to disciplinary action and the recovery of the cost of benefits received related to such falsification and may constitute a criminal violation.