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Federal benefits won’t extend to domestic partners under DOMA ruling

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration will not extend federal-worker benefits to domestic partners under the Supreme Court ruling that overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act, meaning the government will treat civil unions differently than legal same-sex marriages.

The Office of Personnel Management made that announcement in a series of memos to federal benefits administrators and insurance carriers, saying couples who are not legally married “will remain ineligible for most federal benefits programs.” However, any existing benefits provided to domestic partners will remain intact, OPM said.

The recent Supreme Court decision overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which had prohibited the government from recognizing same-sex marriage for purposes of federal benefits programs. The 1996 law prevented same-sex spouses of federal workers from receiving coverage through their partners’ plans.

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