Holder’s same-sex marriage move heats up separation of powers debate

If we are allowed to marry, then we should have all the same rights.

Attorney Eric Holder is making sweeping changes about how the federal government extends rights to legally married same-sex couples, in areas where the Justice Department has jurisdiction. The move should add more fuel to the debate over the roles of the executive, Congress and the states in deciding social issues.

The official policy statement will come from Holder on Monday, but news of it leaked out on Saturday before Holder made a public speech in Manhattan on Saturday night.

Holder, in the latest series of steps promised by the Obama administration, will issue a Justice Department policy memo. The directive will say that same-sex couples, who are legally married under the laws of a state that recognizes such unions, should receive equal benefits and treatment in areas like federal lawsuits and the U.S. court system, as well as in federal prisons.

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