extends family leave rights of gay couples
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[June 20, 2014]
By Mark Felsenthal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack
Obama on Friday will announce a rule that makes legally married same-sex
couples eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act in
all 50 states, a White House official said.
Currently, legally married couples are eligible for those benefits
if they reside in a state in which same-sex marriage is legal. Obama
is directing the Department of Labor to propose a rule extending the
FMLA rights even to states where gay unions are not legal.
The rule is being issued as Attorney General Eric Holder announces
the results of a review of U.S. laws in the wake of the landmark
2013 Supreme Court Windsor decision that held that the survivor of a
same-sex couple could claim the federal estate tax exemption for
The decision forced the federal government to recognize same-sex
marriages in states where it is legal and has paved the way for the
Obama administration to take steps to expand the legal rights of gay
The Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take unpaid,
job-protected leave for family and medical purposes.
Holder is due to issue a review on Friday of how the more than 1,000
different federal rights and obligations linked to a marriage or a
spouse are affected by the Windsor decision.
Obama on Tuesday said he would sign an executive order barring
federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on
their sexual orientation, but he also told gay rights activists they
need to keep up the pressure on Congress to pass a broader law.
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In February, Holder announced widespread changes within the Justice
Department to benefit same-sex married couples, such as recognizing
a legal right for them not to testify against each other in civil
and criminal cases.
(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Ken Wills)
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