The Obama administration clarified this week that after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision regarding DOMA, domestic partners will NOT receive the benefits given to married same-sex couples.
This means civil unions will continue to be treated differently from marriages, though same-sex couples in civil unions and domestic partnerships will still have access to the benefits that come with those specific unions in their states or cities.
The Obama administration responded to the Supreme Court ruling by making health, vision and dental benefits available to all same-sex spouses and children of legally married federal employees. In a memo on Wednesday, OPM said those guidelines will apply to all federal workers, regardless of whether they live in states that have banned same-sex marriage — Virginia, Ohio and Mississippi, for example.
That means same sex couples living anywhere in the U.S. will qualify for federal-employee benefits as long as they hold marriage licenses from any of the 13 states that recognize same-sex marriage, as well as from the District of Columbia, which has also legalized such unions.
This isn’t particularly shocking or upsetting, but it does demonstrate once and for all how we treat people differently depending on something as simple as the legal name of their union with their partner. It’s especially poignant when we consider that a major argument against marriage equality is “you already have civil unions, and they’re the same thing.” Clearly not. Separate but equal is inherently unequal, friends.