WASHINGTON – The Pentagon announced Wednesday that it would extend federal benefits to same-sex spouses of military personnel and civilian defense employees, following up on a Supreme Court decision that overturned a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The benefits will be available to all legally married spouses regardless of sexual orientation, beginning no later than Sept. 3, according to a Defense Department announcement.

“The Department of Defense remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.S. military, and their families, are treated fairly and equally as the law directs,” the announcement said.

The Pentagon also said it would allow leave for couples who are not stationed in the jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage — including the District of Columbia and 13 states — so they can travel elsewhere to be married.

Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, criticized the administration in a statement this week for providing special leave for gay military personnel.

Same-sex spouses will be eligible for entitlements such as military health benefits and housing allowances on a retroactive basis if they were legally married before the June 26 Supreme Court decision, according to the announcement. Entitlements will begin on the date of marriage for those who wed after the ruling.