Much has been made of the Obama administration's decision to defy a California judge's order that they enroll a lesbian federal employee's partner as her health-insurance beneficiary. While Alex called the struggle "a power battle between the judiciary and the executive" in a post about the issue, openly gay Director of the Office of Personnel Management John Berry says it's not so simple. Yesterday at the Victory Fund's Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute, a participant asked Berry why his office had specifically instructed Blue Cross/Blue Shield not to comply with the judge's order.
The administration has 30 days to comply with the request, but Rep Tammy Baldwin's Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act is quickly working its way through Congress. If they can get it passed in the House and sent to the Senate, I'm sure they could use that to leverage quick passage in the Senate and satisfy the judge that they're complying - not just in a single case but for all federal employees.