Kerry: US to issue visas for same-sex spouses

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The change comes after the Supreme Court in June struck down provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prohibiting the federal government from extending same-sex spousal benefits as unconstitutional. The White House ordered federal agencies to immediately begin a review of rules and regulations that might need alteration after the ruling. 

In June, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said her department would allow legally married U.S. citizens to petition for a green card for their same-sex spouses.

"This discriminatory law denied thousands of legally married same-sex couples many important federal benefits, including immigration benefits," Napolitano said in a statement. 

The extension of immigration benefits for gay couples had previously been a major sticking point in negotiations over the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform plan, with Democrats forced to abandon an amendment that would have recognized gay marriages after Republicans, including Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump Paul's demand to out whistleblower rankles GOP colleagues MORE (Fla.), objected.