The Obama administration announced that it would direct the Department of Labor to begin issuing regulations to extend the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to same-sex couples, according to a White House official.
After the Supreme Court’s struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act last year, Attorney General Eric Holder and other members of the administration began to reviewing relevant statutes and laws to extend federal benefits to same-sex couples. The administration said that its extension of FMLA is simply part of that process. The new regulations will clarify that an employee is eligible to take leave to care for a same-sex spouse in the instance of an illness, regardless of whether that employee lives in a state where same-sex marriage is legal.
The Obama administration said that, after FMLA is extended to same-sex couples, it will have completed its review of extending relevant laws and statutes to same-sex couples. However, Obama still calls upon Congress to change a few remaining statutes to cover same-sex couples by passing the Respect for Marriage bills, sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); the Social Security and Marriage Equality Act, sponsored by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO); and the Veterans Affairs’ amendment proposed by Udall and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).