Domestic Same-Sex Partners Won't Get Federal Benefits

Monday, 08 Jul 2013 01:52 PM

By Melanie Batley

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The Obama administration has announced it will not be extending federal benefits to same-sex civil unions following the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, and will recognize only legal same-sex marriages as eligible for benefits under the new rules.

The Office of Personnel Management issued the announcement concerning benefits for federal employees in a series of memos aimed at giving information to administrators and insurance companies. The guidance states that couples who are not legally married "will remain ineligible for most federal benefits programs," The Washington Post reported.

The government will, however, extend benefits to all federally employed same-sex legally married couples regardless of whether they live in states that have banned same-sex marriage.

Specifically, as long as a gay couple holds a marriage license from any of the 13 states or the District of Columbia where same-sex marriage is legal, they, and any children, are eligible for federal benefits no matter where they live.

It is not yet clear whether non-federal workers in legal same-sex marriages living in states where the arrangement is illegal will be extended federal benefits, a concern raised by gay rights activists in the days following the Supreme Court's historic decision.

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