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Obama administration won’t enforce VA ban on same-sex benefits

Posted at 3:31 PM, Sep 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-04 15:31:54-04

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Justice Department will stop enforcing a federal law that prohibits the Veterans Affairs Department from providing benefits to same-sex married couples.

Attorney General Eric Holder, in a letter addressed to House Speaker John Boehner, advised lawmakers that the Obama administration believes the Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, specifically Section 3 that dealt with federal benefits, and that defined marriage for federal purposes as only between one man and one woman. Other parts of DOMA — including the provision that states not be forced to recognize same-sex marriage laws in other states — still remain in effect, at least for now.

Holder said the Justice Department also has concluded the VA statute to be unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment.