White House nears completion of effort to implement DOMA ruling
June 20th, 2014
12:00 AM ET
2 months 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. Name

    This is too bad – it's a shame what our country is becoming

    June 20, 2014 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  2. 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?

    June 20, 2014 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
  3. brett haus

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

    June 20, 2014 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  4. Stephen

    Everybody needs somebody sometime...

    June 20, 2014 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  5. Kris

    Thank god we have a President that understands the Constitution and is protecting the rights of gays and lesbians.

    June 20, 2014 05:53 am at 5:53 am |
  6. tsl

    country is going down the toilet

    June 20, 2014 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  7. Floyd Schrodinger

    A small light has been lit. Hopefully it will turn into a blaze that will illuminate the entire country and chase the hate filled vermin out of their dark corners.

    June 20, 2014 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  8. BrianKeith86

    Wonderful news! It's worth waiting for.

    June 20, 2014 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  9. mickmartn

    The Title of this article is Extremely rightwingnuts biased.

    It should state: Same sex couples get more Equality!
    But because CNN, uses the term... benefits... you join the ranks of fox news in subjective manipulation of the public perception of a situation.

    June 20, 2014 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  10. Johnny57

    I think it is time to cut single people in on these benefits. I'm sorry but this has gone on too long.

    June 20, 2014 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  11. Citizen_123

    Good for the President! Only right to allow legally married same-sex couples all the same benefits as married heterosexual couples.

    June 20, 2014 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    Obama sets out to transform America into a socialistic dictatorship, with these actions.

    June 20, 2014 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  13. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Why is the media only focusing on what was said about Cantor? Didn't he say something even more disparaging about Dianne Fienstein? I would say calling someone a pro is way worse than some stupid gaydar comment. But that wouldn't feed the narrative would it? This reminds me of the many IRS stories I've read here about the big bad IRS picking on the poor put upon wealthy tax cheating conservatives with one lousy line about liberal groups being targeted too. It's a shame this is what passes for journalism these days.

    June 20, 2014 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  14. 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?

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

    Er, no. They now enjoy the SAME rights the rest of us have ALWAYS enjoyed.

    June 20, 2014 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  15. 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 enjoy the same rights the rest of us have always enjoyed. Why do you hate families so much?

    June 20, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  16. Lizzie

    Why not, if they are legally married, now give single persons the same benefits and tax breaks, and then we ALL be equal.

    June 20, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  17. smith

    Off subject comment here. I find it funny that for the past couple of years liberals have credited Obama for ending the war in Iraq. Now that things have gone bad in Iraq H. Clinton is saying Bush ended the war in Iraq not Obama.

    June 20, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    somebody wrote:

    :Obama sets out to transform America into a socialistic dictatorship, with these actions.:
    ------------------------------------
    Sooner or later, hopefully, more and more conservatives will come to the realization that they, as an individual or collectively, have absolutely no right to dictate to another individual what the other individual's rights and liberties should be. Until that day comes, those of us who have "evolved" to this realization will have to suffer their ignorance.

    June 20, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  19. Gunderson

    The Constitution already gives us the right to Life, Liberty, and the Persuit of happiness. Too bad some people still don't understand that.

    June 20, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  20. just me

    Brett and Rick, doma was struck down by the supremes. It says so in the first sentence of the article. Don't let hatred blind you to the joys of reading.

    June 20, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  21. Warren

    Name
    This is too bad – it's a shame what our country is becoming

    What, A Great Nation?? Where everyone is treated equal? Long overdue..

    June 20, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. twisted truth

    Workers rights, the gop will attack this vehemently, no more rights for working people, they want your rights (unions) gone, period, and let your employer have more control over your life, we see it already, can't continue to let this happen, the gop has got to go, they don't represent us anymore, and the rich aren't suffering, the gop wants you to think the poor rich people have it so tough, right, record inequality proves how ridiculous that sentiment truly is.

    June 20, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. Adan

    Don't worry if they cannot get it through politically from our electorate our third world dictator give it the old end around.

    June 20, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  24. Silence DoGood

    @Rick McDaniel
    Obama sets out to transform America into a socialistic dictatorship, with these actions.
    --------------
    It was the "states rights" conservatives that attempted to make this Federal Act to dictate morality to everyone. Removing this Moral Religious State Act simply restores rights to individuals to marry whomever they want and enjoy equal rights.
    Reducing rights based on who you marry is BAD.
    Leaving people's rights alone is GOOD.

    June 20, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  25. Silence DoGood

    @brett haus
    Another "executive order" Can we eliminate paying the Senate and Congress with our new king!
    --------–
    He is modelling himself after that awful dictator George Washington who issued the first executive order.
    And all other presidents since.
    I wonder if you had any issue with Bush's "faith based" X.O.'s favoring one sect over another. (Like in Iran)

    June 20, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
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