OPM urges patience in the wake of DOMA ruling


The Office of Personnel Management is urging federal employees to be patient while it addresses the impact of the June 26 Supreme Court decision in U.S. vs. Windsor overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.

Elaine Kaplan, acting director of OPM, praised the ruling and said, "For the federal government as an employer, it will impact benefits for our married gay and lesbian employees, annuitants, and their families."

A Congressional Research Service report issued in February estimates that there are 34,000 federal employees in same-sex relationships. The Obama administration has already taken steps to extend some partner benefits to federal employees in same-sex relationships, such as travel and relocation reimbursement, credit union membership and some childcare and leave benefits.

Kaplan said, "In the coming days, OPM will be working closely with the Department of Justice and other agencies to provide additional guidance for federal human resources professionals, benefits officers, and our employees and annuitants. While we recognize that our married gay and lesbian employees have already waited too long for this day, we ask for their continued patience as we take the steps necessary to review the Supreme Court's decision and implement it."

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 federal workers said in a statement, "Federal employees should not have to wait any longer to be treated fairly under the law."

Updates to the policy will be posted on the OPM website when they become available.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.

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