The Supreme Court’s decision this week to strike Section 3 of DOMA means that agencies of the federal government have to rewrite countless rules and regulations regarding the provision of federal benefits.
It’s a daunting process, but one marriage equality advocates will be happy to note is already beginning.On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management advised heads of federal departments and agencies that legally married same-sex spouses are now eligible for federal health, dental, life and long-term care insurance benefits, along with retirement and flex-spending benefits, which until the court’s decision only applied to opposite-sex spouses.
In an official statement, Attorney General Eric Holder applauded the action.
“Today’s announcement represents a historic step toward equality for all American families,” Holder said. “The Supreme Court ruled this week that Americans in same-sex marriages are entitled to equal protection and equal treatment under the law. By extending health insurance and other important benefits to federal employees and their families, regardless of whether they are in same-sex or opposite-sex marriages, the Obama Administration is making real the promise of this important decision.”
There remains more to do to fully implement the new post-DOMA regimen. “As the President directed, the Department of Justice will continue to coordinate with other federal agencies to implement this ruling as swiftly and smoothly as possible,” Holder said. “I look forward to sharing additional information as it becomes available.”