University of Notre Dame Extends Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses

What the Supreme Court's Refusal to Rule on Gay Marriage Means 2:21

University of Notre Dame told its employees Wednesday it will extend benefits to same-sex spouses, following a Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage in Indiana.

The Catholic school in South Bend, Indiana, emailed benefits-eligible employees about the change Wednesday evening, two days after the Supreme Court declined to hear appeals on decisions striking down bans on same-sex marriage in Indiana and 10 other states, effectively legalizing it in those places.

"Notre Dame is a Catholic university and endorses a Catholic view of marriage. However, it will follow the relevant civil law and begin to implement this change immediately," the email said.

The email came a day after a federal appeals court in Chicago issued orders that put into effect an earlier ruling striking down a ban in Indiana, as well as one in Wisconsin.

With its policy change, Notre Dame joins other Catholic colleges that offer benefits to same-sex spouses in states where gay marriage is legal. In Massachusetts, Jesuit school Boston College has offered same-sex benefits since the state became the first in the country to legalize gay marriage a decade ago.

"As a Catholic University, we're aware of the church's teachings, but we're also aware of our obligation under civil law," Jack Dunn, director of public affairs for Boston College, told NBC News.

Gay marriage is legal in more than half of the states in the U.S., as well as in Washington, D.C.


—Elizabeth Chuck