- The Washington Times - Friday, June 20, 2014
Military veterans in same-sex marriages will now be eligible to be buried together in national cemeteries, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Friday.

The announcement was included in a Justice Department report on the Obama administration’s efforts to expand federal benefits to same-sex couples in the year since the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act.

“VA worked closely with DOJ to develop guidance to process cases involving same-sex marriages and to implement necessary changes swiftly and smoothly in order to deliver the best services to all eligible veterans,” said acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson.

The Social Security Administration will also begin paying survivor benefits, lump-sum death benefits and aged spouse benefits to homosexual couples if one partner is eligible for inheritance under state law, according to the report.

States such as Colorado, Nevada and Wisconsin allow spousal inheritance for same-sex couples.

However, the report also identified roadblocks to extending some federal benefits to married same-sex couples in states that do not recognize gay marriages.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, applauded the report’s account of progress made by the Obama administration.

“Ever since the Supreme Court struck down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act last year, the administration has worked tirelessly to implement that landmark decision in a way that extends the full range of marriage benefits to same-sex couples across the country,” she said. “Today’s actions take us ever closer to the day when all American families enjoy full and equal justice under law.”

Mrs. Pelosi called for Congress to force every state to recognize gay marriage.

“Fairness for same-sex families should not have to wait for the courts – it is time for Congress to pass the Respect For Marriage Act and make marriage equality the law of the land,” she said.