Education Secretary Arne Duncan on
Friday announced that the department will recognize married gay
couples in relationship to federal college loan applications.
“We must continue to ensure that
every single American is treated equally in the eyes of the law, and
this important guidance for students is another step forward in that
effort,” Duncan said in a written statement.
The move comes roughly six months after
the Supreme Court knocked down a critical provision of the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA) which blocked the federal government from
recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
The department said that it will
recognize a student – and parents – as legally married if the
couple wed in one of the 15 states plus the District of Columbia
where same-sex marriage is permitted, even if the student is applying
for a loan to attend a school in one of the states that do not allow
gay couples to marry. (A marriage law approved in Illinois takes
effect in June.)
“As students fill out their FAFSA
[Free Application for Federal Student Aid] this coming year, I'm
thrilled they'll be able to do so in a way that is more fair and
just,” Duncan said.