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Obama Administration says it will press to provide marriage benefits in all states

President Obama signaled Thursday that his administration would extend federal benefits to gay couples living in states that don’t recognize their marriages, a relief for advocates left with a thicket of uncertainty a day after their historic Supreme Court victory.

The president said the government should define marriage based on where a couple weds and not necessarily where they live — a definition of wedlock that’s essential to how the administration will implement the court’s decision Wednesday to strike a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

“It’s my personal belief — but I’m speaking now as a president as opposed to as a lawyer — that if you’ve been married in Massachusetts and you move someplace else, you’re still married, and that under federal law you should be able to obtain the benefits of any lawfully married couple,” Obama told reporters at a news conference in Dakar, Senegal, on a trip to sub-Saharan Africa.

The president called the ruling a “victory for American democracy” and said he has directed his administration to “comb through every statute” to ensure that gay couples receive federal benefits for which they are now eligible.

The task is already proving daunting.

As jubilant same-sex couples scrambled to call attorneys and agencies and scour the Internet about new rights, officials across the government continued reviewing the 1,110 federal rights, benefits and obligations that marriage confers.

They range from Social Security and pension benefits to green cards for spouses who are not citizens. All but two are regulations the administration can change without congressional action. Social Security and veterans’ benefits are the two exceptions that may require Congress to make the legal changes to ensure that married same-sex couples get the benefits of those programs.

A White House official said the process will take time, but benefits for same-sex couples will come on a rolling basis.

But since the court stopped short of ruling that the right to marry must be extended to same-sex couples no matter where they live, state lines still determine who is legally married and who is not. And that’s where much is left for the Obama administration to interpret — and opponents of same-sex marriage to contest.

Thirty-seven states do not allow same-sex unions. Virtually every federal agency has a different standard for how it defines marriage, whether based on the place a couple weds or where they live. Some agencies do not address either definition, such as the Office of Personnel Management, which makes policy on benefits for 2 million federal employees.

The federal employee retirement law, for example, defines a marriage for retirement benefit purposes as one recognized in the jurisdiction “with the most significant interest in the marital status” of the individual, unless that law is contrary to federal policy, according to the Congressional Research Service.

A decision on which state has the “most significant interest” likely would take into account where the employee lived while working and during retirement, and where the person eventually died. Also taken into consideration would be where the couple had financial assets and where the surviving spouse lives, personnel experts say.

by Anonymousreply 3409/16/2013

This is terrific, but doesn't it mean a future administration can convert it back to place you live from place you married?

by Anonymousreply 106/28/2013

R1 --

Indeed a future administration could, but there'll likely be a ruling on marriage in the fundie states before Obama leaves office. I'm REALLY pleased to see Obama going the "if you don't like it, sue me to stop it, and make yourselves look even MORE hateful" route!

by Anonymousreply 206/28/2013

[quote]This is terrific, but doesn't it mean a future administration can convert it back to place you live from place you married?

Only if those who throw a hissy-fit (like some DLers)every time they don't get EVERYTHING they want under Obama decide to stay home to teach Dems a lesson - worked out so well in 2010.

by Anonymousreply 306/28/2013

Why that Rascal.

by Anonymousreply 406/28/2013

He knows what side his bread was buttered on. Without the gay vote it would be First Lady Ann Romney.

by Anonymousreply 506/28/2013

R5, you're quite dense. Also, he already won, so he didn't have to do anything at this point.

by Anonymousreply 606/28/2013

And to think what would happen if Romney was in the office... he would turn this place in Russia

by Anonymousreply 706/28/2013

Cue the morons saying Obama hates gays and loved Prop8 and DOMA, just like they said he loved DADT when it was repealed...

by Anonymousreply 806/30/2013

this is AWESOME!!

by Anonymousreply 906/30/2013

Does anyone here still believe his opinion on gay marriage was "evolving" less than a year ago? He sure is front and center and totally comfortable with it since announcing his support of us!

by Anonymousreply 1006/30/2013

Uh no, R10. He's using the gays to give him credibility with the lefties and progressives. That's it.

by Anonymousreply 1106/30/2013

He won't do shit. Putin has more clout and credibility with state governments.

by Anonymousreply 1206/30/2013

r11 knows from shit....

by Anonymousreply 1306/30/2013

Obama "evolved" only because he saw a guaranteed block of voters. We haven't heard that Bill and Hill have evolved, but she will when it comes time to run for President.

by Anonymousreply 1406/30/2013

you are an idiot r14.

by Anonymousreply 1506/30/2013

I love that cool and calm Obama smiles, and freepers heads are all exploding this week!

It has only caused the lazy feckless media to put more religio-loonies on tv, supporting the rancid GOP they are helping DESTROY!

by Anonymousreply 1606/30/2013

gay republicans still hatin'...

by Anonymousreply 1707/01/2013

[quote]Uh no, [R10]. He's using the gays to give him credibility with the lefties and progressives. That's it.

Is this supposed to be some kind of criticism against him? Because that's kind of what politicians are supposed to do; advocate on behalf of their constituents in order to get elected or re-elected.

I don't give a shit what Obama thinks or why he thinks it. I only care about what he does.

by Anonymousreply 1807/01/2013

[quote]Uh no, [R10]. He's using the gays to give him credibility with the lefties and progressives. That's it.

Bingo! It's just politics.

by Anonymousreply 1907/01/2013

R14, Next time before you speak, try using Google, at least you will not sound like the idiot you really are.

by Anonymousreply 2007/01/2013

I think he's always supported equality, personally. Politically, is another issue.

But good for him, he's getting maybe A TAD in front of the issue now.

I'll take it.

by Anonymousreply 2107/01/2013

R19, they are politicians, so surprise, they are practicing politics. In this case its for good of all of all gay people. And straight too for that matter.

by Anonymousreply 2207/01/2013

Hillary was pushing for gay rights and benefits while she was Secretary of the State.

by Anonymousreply 2307/01/2013

With Obama's blessing, you might add.

by Anonymousreply 2407/01/2013

Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud want gay rights. Just not under a Democratic Presidency.

by Anonymousreply 2507/01/2013

well they are NOT going to get it under a GOP presidency, and it is happening under a democratic presidency!

by Anonymousreply 2607/01/2013

Conservative gays are a selfish bunch. They want what is beneficial to them as gay people but screw everyone else. They are social moderates as it pertains to gay rights, but nothing to anyone else.

Poor? Well, fuck you, lazy asshole. Immigrants? Go back to your own damn country. Abortion? Keep your legs closed you filthy slut! Gay rights? Fuck Obama! But since it's there, I'm getting married!

by Anonymousreply 2707/01/2013

Log Cabin Meeting:

by Anonymousreply 2807/01/2013

What part of eating spunk out of my ass after a 6 hour drug binge of crack makes you conservative?

by Anonymousreply 2907/01/2013

Good luck with that.

by Anonymousreply 3007/01/2013

damn

by Anonymousreply 3107/01/2013

It keeps getting better.

by Anonymousreply 3209/15/2013

Wow. Speaking as president and not a lawyer?? Finally I get it. I always wondered how he saw himself. And why he does things the way he does. Thanks OP I had missed that.

by Anonymousreply 3309/16/2013

R3 You and your ilk tried to prevent this from even happening in the first place. If we listened you, we would have had nothing.

Pack up and go home.

by Anonymousreply 3409/16/2013
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