The Obama administration on Friday announced that as a result of this week's ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the spouses of gay federal workers would be eligible for key federal programs.

“Today my Administration announced that, for the first time in history, we will be making important federal employee benefits, including healthcare and retirement benefits, available to eligible married gay and lesbian couples and their families,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.

“Today's announcement represents a historic step toward equality for all American families,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “The Supreme Court ruled this week that Americans in same-sex marriages are entitled to equal protection and equal treatment under the law. By extending health insurance and other important benefits to federal employees and their families, regardless of whether they are in same-sex or opposite-sex marriages, the Obama Administration is making real the promise of this important decision.”

The guidance to executive department and agency heads was issued by Elaine Kaplan, acting director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Kaplan's memo also details new eligibility under life insurance, dental and vision insurance, long-term care insurance, retirement programs and flexible spending accounts as a result of Wednesday's ruling.

The new benefits also apply to retirees.

The president earlier said that federal eligibility should not be based on whether an employee's marriage is recognized by his or her state of residency but whether the worker has a valid marriage license.

An OPM spokesperson confirmed this to be true.

“Yes, these benefits will be available to any federal employee or annuitant who has a valid marriage license, regardless of their state of residency,” Thomas Richards, OPM director of communications, told Buzzfeed.

Still unanswered is whether the federal government will treat civil unions – available in Colorado, New Jersey, Illinois and Hawaii – as marriages.