A popular argument among those who oppose marriage equality is that same-sex couples don't need marriage itself because they can get equality in rights and benefits under an institution with another name, such as civil unions or domestic partnerships.
However, in a series of memos recently released by the Office of Personnel Management in response to last month's Supreme Court decision striking down the heart of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government makes it crystal clear that "separate but equal" relationship recognition structures are not equal at all.
The Washington Post reports:
The Obama administration will not extend federal-worker benefits to domestic partners under the Supreme Court ruling that overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act, meaning the government will treat civil unions differently than legal same-sex marriages.
The Office of Personnel Management made that announcement in a series of memos to federal benefits administrators and insurance carriers, saying couples who are not legally married "will remain ineligible for most federal benefits programs." However, any existing benefits provided to domestic partners will remain intact, OPM said.
So there you have it: only same-sex couples who are legally married will be able to access federal employee benefits. Civil unions and domestic partnerships are inherently unequal to marriage. Another anti-gay right-wing argument obliterated!
h/t: Zack Ford