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.