President Barack Obama is extending child care, medical leave and other benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.
Obama on Wednesday directed federal agencies to immediately begin allowing domestic partners and their children some of the same rights available to spouses and children of employees. That includes child-care services and subsidies, expanded family and medical leave and relocation and other benefits.
Obama's memorandum covers only benefits that can be extended under existing law, without congressional action.
Obama said in a statement that while his directive was an "important step on the path to equality," existing federal law prevented him from taking further action to provide same-sex domestic partners with the same benefits offered to heterosexual married couples.
He called on Congress to swiftly pass a measure that would address that discrepancy.
It's the president's latest step on gay rights. He's also supported a rollback of the military's "don't ask don't tell" that governs gay service members.