The Labor Department announced on Wednesday that all legally married gay and lesbian couples are eligible for employee benefit plans, including pensions, 401(k)s, health plans and other employee benefits.

“This decision represents a historic step toward equality for all American families, and I have directed the department's agency heads to ensure that they are implementing the decision in a way that provides maximum protection for workers and their families,” Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in an emailed statement.

The agency said the decision extended to married gay couples living in states that do not recognize their marriages.

Supporters cheered the news, which came three months after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law that prohibited federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples.

“We're pleased to see yet another agency issuing guidance implementing the decision and recognizing individuals as lawfully married for federal purposes even if they live in a state that doesn't recognize their marriage,” said Brian Moulton, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT advocate.

Tico Almeida, founder and president of Freedom to Work, a national organization dedicated to ending workplace discrimination added: “Freedom to Work and thousands of LGBT couples nationwide applaud the Labor Department for adopting 'state of celebration' rules that allow gay and lesbian couples from Texas to go to California to get married and then have ERISA protections at their Texas jobs. We urge Secretary Perez and the Labor Department to push for full legal equality, and re-write the Family Medical Leave Act regulations to adopt these same 'state of celebration' rules so that all married couples – no matter where they live – can have job protections when a same-sex spouse is diagnosed with a serious illness.”