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The Obama administration has found yet another way to make the benefits of marriage more equal following the Supreme Court's decision striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act. Specifically, the same-sex spouses of veterans will be eligible for benefits following a Justice Department decision that the Court's decision should apply to the law governing veterans' benefits, a law which specifies that marriage involves a "person of the opposite sex."

"Decisions by the Executive Branch not to enforce federal laws are appropriately rare," Attorney General Eric Holder wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, but "the unique circumstances presented here warrant non-enforcement." Considering that the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group has pulled out of a lawsuit challenging exactly this provision of the law, and that "continued enforcement would likely have a tangible adverse effect on the families of veterans and, in some circumstances, active-duty service members and reservists, with respect to survival, health care, home loan, and other benefits," the Obama administration is extending the Court's DOMA decision. As a result, same-sex spouses will now be eligible for health and survivor benefits, among others.

All these ways that the administration has determined how the Supreme Court's decision will be applied, how much change it will actually bring, certainly are potent reminders of what it means to have a Democrat in the White House, aren't they?

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:46 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality, LGBT Rights are Human Rights, and Daily Kos.

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