Employers will soon have to give homosexual workers the same opportunity to take unpaid time off as heterosexuals, according to the Labor Department.
A new interpretation of the Family and Medical Leave Act will allow gay partners to take up 12 weeks leave to care for newborns or other loved ones. It would also let them use the unpaid time away from the job for a adoption.
There has been no plan to ask Congress to change the current law, which means that future presidents could reverse the decision.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to host gay couples at the White House Tuesday in an event honoring the month of June as Gay Pride Month.
Gay activists have not been pleased with how Obama has been dealing with gay policies. His administration has slowly rolled out policies to benefit gays and lesbians who supported his candidacy, but are unsatisfied at the pace of making drastic changes.
"We still need laws passed that achieve what these minimal efforts attempt to do piecemeal," said Lane Hudson, a gay activist, who last year interrupted Bill Clinton during a speech in which he defended his administration's handling of gays and lesbians in the military.