American president Barack Obama is set to sign a presidential memorandum which will grant the partners of gay federal workers workplace benefits. However, the memorandum will only apply for the period of his term in office.

According to officials, Obama plans to announce his decision and provide more details on Wednesday.

This comes after growing criticism from the gay community about the president’s lack of action on the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which bars LGBT people from serving in the military, and his defence of the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) which bans the federal government from recognising same-sex marriages that are legal in certain states.

Richard Socarides, a New York attorney and former senior adviser on gay rights issues to President Bill Clinton, was taking a wait-and-see attitude on Obama’s announcement.

“If it doesn’t include health insurance, if he doesn’t talk about the military and about the (Justice Department) brief, I think it will fall short,” Socarides said in an e-mail to the Associated Press. “Right now, people are looking for real action.”

The US State Department earlier also promised to give partners of gay and lesbian diplomats many benefits, such as diplomatic passports and language training.

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