The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee sent the legislation to the full Senate on Wednesday. The Senate has failed to pass previous versions of the bill.
Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., has introduced similar legislation in the last four Congresses. The bill received committee approval in the last Congress but it was not scheduled for a vote.
While the committee acted just weeks after President Barack Obama announced his support for gay marriage, the legislation is focused only on equalizing benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees.
To qualify, both domestic partners must file an affidavit stating the individuals are in a committed domestic partnership and intend to remain in that relationship indefinitely.