Ed O'Keefe at The Washington Post has been keeping careful track of all the gay rights victories won at the federal level since Obama took office, and today catalogs them on his Federal Eye blog. In addition to the Justice Department's decision today to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, here's what's happened:
• May 24, 2009: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announces plans to extend a series of benefits to the same-sex partners of U.S. diplomats working abroad, including diplomatic passports, relocation assistance, use of embassy medical facilities, and inclusion in emergency evacuations from posts abroad.
• June 17, 2009: President Obama signs a memo extending fringe benefits to the same-sex partners of gay federal employees and announces his support for legislation that would extend all benefits to them. The legislation has yet to pass.
• Aug. 3, 2009: The U.S. Census Bureau announces it plans to count same-sex marriages as part of the 2020 Census and will also provide partial data from the 2010 Census.
• March 17, 2010: The Department of Housing and Urban Development announces it plans to probe allegations of housing discrimination against same-sex couples. In January, it announced a series of proposed rule changes meant to accommodate gay and lesbian home buyers.
• June 3, 2010: As part of his previous push to extend more benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees, Obama signs a memo offering a wider range of them, including access to medical treatment, relocation assistance, credit unions and fitness centers.
• Dec. 22, 2010: Obama signs legislation authorizing the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bans gays and lesbians from openly serving in uniform. The Pentagon later announces plans to quickly train commanders, chaplains and the rank and file in order to end the ban this year.
• Jan. 7, 2011: The State Department decides to make passport applications for children more gender neutral by adding "Parent 1" and "Parent 2" next to any reference of "Mother" and "Father."
Read the full item at The Federal Eye.