White House nears completion of effort to implement DOMA ruling
June 20th, 2014
12:00 AM ET
1 month ago

White House nears completion of effort to implement DOMA ruling

Washington (CNN) – Following last year's U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the ban on federal benefits for legally married same-sex couples, the White House is announcing Friday that more benefits will be extended to those couples, no matter where they live.

Included in those benefits will be the ability to take time off to care for a same-sex spouse without the risk of being fired.

A White House official said Friday the Department of Labor was beginning a process to extend those benefits, which are laid out in the Family and Medical Leave Act, to married same-sex couples. The rules would extend nationwide, even in states that don't recognize such marriages.

The announcement comes nearly one year since the high court determined a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. The case examined whether the federal government can deny tax, health and pension benefits to same-sex couples in states where they can legally marry. The justices said no.

Following that decision, President Barack Obama directed his cabinet to "swiftly and smoothly" implement the ruling at government agencies.

In the months after the ruling, the Department of Homeland Security said it would treat married same-sex couples the same as other married pairs during immigration proceedings.

The Department of Health and Human Services told insurance companies they couldn't decline coverage to same-sex spouses if opposite-sex couples are covered. And the State Department began processing visa applications based on same-sex marriages the same way they process those for other married couples.

The official said the Department of Justice had completed its review of federal benefits, finding that in "almost all instances, federal benefits and obligations for same-sex married couples will be provided, regardless of where the couple lives."

There are still some provisions, the official said, that prevent the federal government from extending benefits to married gay and lesbian couples in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage. Democrats have introduced various pieces of legislation to try and close those gaps, including Social Security and VA benefits.

On Monday, the White House said Obama would shortly sign an executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation.


Filed under: Gay rights • President Obama • White House
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. robertholt

    Will the Obama administration be able to protect gays from God's Judgment?

    June 20, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. Ol' Yeller

    From the Scott Walker thread-
    "Terry Carlson

    As it says below this text entry box, "CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service."

    Bill intones, "What a surprise. Jail the SOB.", and Ol' Yeller courteously comments, "And the whining accusations of witch hunts from the rightwingnutjob morons begin now...."

    I leave you to draw your own conclusions!"

    Was I wrong Terry? I noticed you seem to overlook the many, many, many threads critical of Dems where the rightwingnutjob morons start it out the same way. I noticed you seem to overlook the many, many, many negative posts in that same thread which came from the rightwingnutjob morons.
    It's okay, I forgive you. I'm used to rampant hypocracy from folks like you... I mean after all, when you only watch the rightwingnutjob morons on fixed news... what would would one expect?
    Totally all right when it is one of the sheeple you agree with, but let a Dem push back and here the tears and whining... just like I said.
    Thanks for validating my point.

    June 20, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. Ol' Yeller

    @brett haus

    Another "executive order" Can we eliminate paying the Senate and Congress with our new king!

    Pop Quiz... Which President has used his executive powers LESS than ANY OTHER President since Grover Cleveland?

    (Jeopardy music)

    Who is President Obama?

    Wow!!!!
    See how watching hannity and listening to rush makes you stupider?

    June 20, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. maksim

    Congradulation Mr. President. It is awesome move.Equality for all.

    I know thre bunch of biggots on this thread. Country is getting better not worse by this move. And President does have power executively. something Bush, Clinton , Bush Sr, Reagon and others practiced and actually did much more then Obama using this route, but Obama is getting blamed.

    June 20, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. Malory Archer

    joe biden
    so now same sex couples not only are allowed to use the term "married" instead of "civil union," but they get more rights too? w t f?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    No, they now get to enjoy the same rights the rest of us have enjoyed forever.

    June 20, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
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