Following the historic Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, the same federal benefits straight couples have are expanding to include all same-sex couples across the country, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement this morning.
"The agencies are currently working towards providing guidance to implement this change in law."
Lynch said in the statement that the Department of Justice has coordinated with federal agencies to ensure the benefits expansion goes into effect immediately. "Thanks to their leadership and the quick work of the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, today I am proud to announce that the critical programs for veterans and elderly and disabled Americans, which previously could not give effect to the marriages of couples living in states that did not recognize those marriages, will now provide federal recognition for all marriages nationwide," according to the statement. "The agencies are currently working toward providing guidance to implement this change in law."
As The Washington Post notes, although some federal benefits had previously been given to married same-sex couples, so long as they were married in a state where same-sex marriage was legal, agencies like the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs were required to give benefits based on where a couple lived, meaning couples could lose benefits if they still lived in a state where same-sex marriage was illegal.
"The department will continue to work across the administration to fulfill our commitment to equal treatment for all Americans, including equal access to the benefits of marriage that the Obergefell decision guarantees," Lynch said in the statement.