Same-sex couples can now receive federal marriage benefits, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Thursday — a move that follows last month’s Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
“Following the Supreme Court’s historic decision in Obergefell that every couple has the same right to participate in the institution of marriage, whether the partners are of the same-sex or opposite sexes, I directed Justice Department staff to work with the agencies to ensure that the ruling be given full effect across the federal government,” Lynch said in a statement.
Programs aimed at veterans, elderly and disabled Americans will now include same-sex marriages.
The U.S. Supreme Court last month made marriage for same-sex couples legal nationwide, declaring that refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples violates the Constitution.
The landmark ruling will produce the most significant change in laws governing matrimony since the court struck down state bans on inter-racial marriage almost 50 years ago.
The majority opinion in the 5-4 decision was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.