Steve Vogel at the Washington Post profiles several federal employees who are hopeful the limited federal benefits extension, signed yesterday by President Barack Obama, will lead to health benefits for their partners. Candy Holmes (left), is 33-year federal employee and information technology manager at the GAO. Holmes and partner Darlene Garner are both ordained clergy with the Metropolitan Community Church
[Holmes'] partner, a clergywoman with limited health insurance, is not covered by the health or retirement benefits that Holmes receives from the federal government. "I've been without benefits for my partner the entire time," said Holmes, an information technology manager at the GAO. "Thank God we have not had any major illness. If we had, I'm not sure how we could manage."
Obama's order has cheered Holmes and left her optimistic that more change is coming. "Hopeful. Excited," she said of her mood yesterday. "Wanting to believe this is the beginning of equality."
Holmes and her partner, Darlene Garner, are both ordained clergy with the Metropolitan Community Church. "I was thinking about it last night," said Holmes, a native Washingtonian who lives with Garner in Laurel. "We are African American, a lesbian couple, and we are religious. Having gone through the civil rights movement, I'm glad for this step being made."
It's always nice to put a human face to an otherwise wonkish and theoretical policy debate. In this case, it's even better this was a black lesbian couple who happen to be ordained clergy—it pushes back on the ridiculous notion there are not black LGBTs and re-frames the policy decision as social justice.