President Barack Obama has signed a presidential memorandum which will grant same-sex partners of federal government employees certain benefits. However many believe that while it’s a start, the administration still has a long way to go in order to fill its campaign promises for full equality for the LGBT community.

Obama spoke briefly yesterday when signing the memorandum, saying: “It’s a day that marks a historic step towards the changes we seek, but I think we all have to acknowledge this is only one step. Among the steps we have not yet taken is to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). I believe it’s discriminatory, I think it interferes with states’ rights, and we will work with Congress to overturn it.”

This comes after the administration shocked America’s LGBT community when it recently defended DOMA in a court case, saying that until the law has been repealed in Congress, it is obligated to defend it in court.

“We’ve got more work to do to ensure that government treats all its citizens equally; to fight injustice and intolerance in all its forms; and to bring about that more perfect union. I’m committed to these efforts, and I pledge to work tirelessly on behalf of these issues in the months and years to come,” added Obama.

While the benefits include domestic partners of federal employees being added to the government’s long-term care insurance program and allowing employees to use sick leave to take care of domestic partners and their children, they do not include vital benefits such as health insurance, pension access, survivor benefits and life insurance. In part granting these benefits are restricted by DOMA, which allows states to reject gay marriages performed in other states.

In addition, those serving in the military would not be able to access the extended benefits as this would entail them to come out, which would lead to their dismissal under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell military ban.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said in a statement, “although today’s actions are only the beginning in what will be a multi-step process towards achieving real and tangible equality for our community, it is no doubt an important first step. We commend President Obama and his administration for taking this action…”

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