Sunday, February 9

US poised to make changes to justice system - giving legal recognition to same-sex marriages

During a speech at an event in New York City for the Human Rights Campaign, Attorney General Eric Holder released planed changes within the US Justice Department to extend benefits to same-sex married couples, including the legal right not to testify against each other in civil and criminal cases.

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A Supreme Court ruling last year said the federal government cannot refuse to recognize same-sex marriages carried out in states that allow them. The Supreme Court in June struck down part of a 1996 federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriages are currently legal in 17 US states and in Washington DC.

A written memo to Justice Department employees will follow on Monday.

The memo will “formally instruct all department employees to give lawful same-sex marriages full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent possible under the law,”

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