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.

Full story

signature

Gay Marriage Stabilizes Families, Eric Holder Tells Swedish Lawmakers

WASHINGTON — Less than three years after he decided the Justice Department should no longer defend the provisions of a law banning the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage, Attorney General Eric Holder told Swedish lawmakers on Tuesday that they “stabilized families and expanded individual liberty” by legalizing such unions in their country.

Sweden became the seventh country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2009, and Holder called the fight for LGBT rights one of the “defining civil rights challenges of our time” and praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Full story

signature

U.S. to Provide Veterans Benefits to Gay Married Couples

I know this has been long awaited and hard fought for. It is no less than any of our Sisters and Brothers whose partner/spouse is in the military fighting for our country. If lesbians and gays and transgendered individuals want to sacrifice their lives for ALL of us, then they and their families should receive the same benefits as ALL soldiers.

The Obama administration will provide veterans benefits to many married same-sex couples, another step by the federal government toward treating gay couples in the same way as their heterosexual counterparts after a landmark Supreme Court ruling.

The move, announced Wednesday in a letter to Congress by Attorney General Eric Holder, tackles one of the thorny legal issues resulting from the high court’s decision in June to strike down parts of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

However, Wednesday’s move extends veterans benefits only to married gay couples living in states that recognize such unions, officials said. Couples in other states won’t be eligible yet.

Full story

signature