Aravosis v. Blaze RE: the President’s Extending Benefits to Partners of Same-Sex Workers

Jon Aravosis, continuing his slanted take on Obama and GLBT rights, claims that the rights Obama granted today already existed:

I just asked OPM Director John Berry, on a White House media conference call, whether in fact federal agencies already have the right to give these benefits to gay employees. The answer, "yes." So what’s new about tonight? Obama is going to "tell" the agencies to give the benefits – as if any agency in the Obama administration would dare tell a gay employee no to a request for time off to attend their partner’s funeral?

As Alex Blaze, who was also on that call, shows, Aravosis had to twist John Berry’s words pretty mightily around to get that particular frame:

Third, John Aravosis asked him what’s actually changing with these guidelines. Federal employment is already supposed to be based on merit, not on factors unrelated to job performance. Aravosis mentioned a woman who worked for the federal government who got leave to take care of her same-sex partner.

Berry responded that previously such benefits to gay employees was "subject to whim of the supervisor." They were optional, and now they’ll be mandatory.

So in Aravosis-speak, optional and mandatory are apparently the same!

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