The Obama administration wasted little time in outlining its response to the Supreme Court's decision Wednesday to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. That day, the acting director of the Office of Personnel Management pledged to provide "additional guidance" on what it meant for employees. Friday afternoon, that guidance came. The spouses of federal employees have access to the government's system of benefits, regardless of sexual orientation.
BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner got a copy of the OPM's memo, sent to each government agency. (You can read it at the bottom of this article.) It walks through each benefit program, echoing the same refrain.
Health insurance: "All legally married same-sex spouses will now be eligible family members under a Self and Family enrollment."
Life insurance: "All legally married same-sex spouses and children of legal same-sex marriages are now eligible family members under the FEGLI Program."
Dental and vision: "As with FEHB, all legally married same-sex spouses will now be eligible family members under a Self and Family enrollment or a Self Plus One enrollment."
Even retirees, who have two years to "inform OPM that they have a legal marriage that now qualifies for recognition."
On Wednesday, OPM Acting Director Elaine Kaplan seemed almost relieved when issuing a statement on the ruling.
Today’s historic decision by the Supreme Court that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional is a much welcome development in the continuing quest to ensure equal treatment under the law to all Americans. For the federal government as an employer, it will impact benefits for our married gay and lesbian employees, annuitants, and their families.
Today's memo ends in a similar way:
We appreciate your cooperation in our effort to implement the Supreme Court's decision, and provide greater equality to Federal employees and annuitants regardless of their sexual orientation.
Sometimes additional government paperwork isn't such a terrible thing.
Photo: A couple in California celebrates the Court's decision. (AP)