President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced new policy barring federal employees from engaging in same-sex marriages.
The policy will take effect in January, when Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the policy will apply to federal employees who have been fired, suspended or otherwise disciplined for participating in a same-gender marriage ceremony.
The president said the president’s policy, which was unveiled during an event with the families of the victims of the Charleston church shooting, would be in line with his desire to help protect all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Obama told the families that his administration will continue to defend the constitutionality of marriage as a fundamental institution, and he thanked the victims for their sacrifice in keeping their families safe.
“We are grateful to all the brave men and women who have sacrificed so that we may live in a nation that values freedom and justice for all, regardless, of who you love,” Obama said.
A statement from the White House did not offer details of the new policy.
The president said it will protect the privacy of those who have chosen to marry.
“While we respect the rights of those to whom the law is applicable, our commitment is not to change the law, and we are determined to protect the dignity and worth of the marriage that is between one man and one woman, regardless the sexual orientation of the person holding it,” Schultz said.
Obama’s announcement comes on the heels of the Supreme Court ruling striking down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-married couples.
The Supreme Court also upheld a lower court ruling that allowed same-day delivery of federal benefits to same- sex couples in Hawaii, which legalized same- and opposite-sex marriage in the state last year.
The ruling also came just hours after the Trump administration announced that it would begin the process of withdrawing federal funds from states that allow gay marriage.
It has not yet been determined if those states will have to comply with the new rules, which will be announced on Wednesday.