Obama extends benefits to gay partners of federal workers

President Obama will sign a "presidential memorandum" tonight extending benefits to gay partners of federal employees, according to reports.

The White House undoubtedly hopes the move will quell anger among Obama's gay supporters that the President has gone soft on gay rights since taking office.

Activists are angry that Obama has done little to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and that his administration defended the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in federal court. DOMA would prevent the federal government from acknowledging same-sex marriage and would allow (though not force) states to not recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state.

The policy change comes as a number of prominent gay activists are pulling out of a DNC fundraiser to be held later this month.

So far, a number of pro-gay rights activists seem unimpressed with the move (see here and here and here.) The general consensus seems to be that the policy is long overdue, too weak, and a blatantly political response to the imploding fundraiser. Moreover, the "benefits" included in the policy do not include healthcare.