Obama Extends Family Leave Benefits to Same-Sex Couples

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The Obama administration will extend more federal benefits to married same-sex couples, the White House announced on Friday. 

Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez revealed a proposed rule that would offer protections given under the Family and Medical Leave Act to same-sex couples on a national scale. The new law would allow married LGBT individuals to visit ailing spouses without fear of being fired, no matter where they live or work. Said Perez: 

The basic promise of the FMLA is that no one should have to choose between succeeding at work and being a loving family caregiver... under the proposed revisions, the FMLA will be applied to all families equally, enabling individuals in same-sex marriages to fully exercise their rights and fulfill their responsibilities to their families.

In a press release, the Department of Labor explained that the new law would tweak the definition of "spouse" to include all those who are legally married. 

Under the proposed rule, eligibility for FMLA protections would be based on the law of the place where the marriage was entered into, allowing all legally married couples, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, to have consistent federal family leave rights regardless whether the state in which they currently reside recognizes such marriages.

The news follows reports of Obama's instructing his staff to draft an ENDA-like executive order, which would offer more job protection to LGBT individuals. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.