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Federal Agencies Move to Comply With Supreme Court Ruling on DOMA

June 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
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JEFFREY BROWN: And now the day after, as we look at the practical and political implications of the Supreme Court’s pair of rulings on gay marriage.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We believe in basic fairness.

JEFFREY BROWN: In Senegal today, the president again praised the Supreme Court decision that struck down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act. The provision had denied federal benefits to same-sex couples.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: What I think yesterday’s ruling signifies is one more step towards ensuring that those basic principles apply to everybody.

JEFFREY BROWN: And as celebrations broke out in some parts of the country yesterday, the heads of several federal agencies welcomed the decision and said they’d move quickly to comply.

But the president noted that both inside and outside of the executive branch, that could be tricky.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: But you still have a whole bunch of states that do not recognize it. It’s my personal belief — but I’m speaking now as a president, as opposed as a lawyer — that if you have been married in Massachusetts, and you move someplace else, you’re still married.

JEFFREY BROWN: Across the nation, either through the courts or the ballot box, 13 states and the District of Columbia have moved to recognize gay marriage.

Meanwhile, 35 others have either state laws or constitutional amendments restricting marriage to one man and one woman. A host of other states have laws either permitting or denying civil unions and benefits.

And just today, the Supreme Court declined to take up two state marriage cases, one involving a ban on gay marriage in Nevada and another involving an Arizona law that denies benefits to same-sex partners.