Feds Plan New Protections for Same-Sex Marriages

Holder's Justice Department calls for equality

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 8, 2014 3:00 PM CST

(Newser) – Thirty-four states don't recognize same-sex marriage—but when it comes to criminal justice, the attorney general is ready to afford all marriages the same protections. "In every courthouse, in every proceeding, and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States, they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections, and rights as opposite-sex marriages," Eric Holder will say in a speech ahead of a department memo Monday, CNN reports.

That means equality when it comes to prisoners' rights, bankruptcy filing, and court testimony, the New York Times reports. For instance, spouses will have the right to refuse to give testimony incriminating a partner; same-sex couples can jointly file for bankruptcy; and prisoners can receive furloughs to aid a spouse in trouble, the Washington Post explains. Holder's speech will be given to the Human Rights Campaign today. The move affects just some of the government-estimated 1,100 federal laws and other measures tied to marriage, the Times reports.

In this Jan. 29, 2014 file photo, Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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