Same-Sex Marriage Rights Will Expand, Says Holder

Same-sex marriage rights, Eric Holder

US Attorney General Eric Holder promised that same-sex couples will receive the same benefits as heterosexual couples under federal law.  He assured in his address on Monday that federal policies will grant same rights and privileges to same-sex couples as the privileges that heterosexual couples enjoy.  He said it’s a basic fundamental right to marry anyone regardless of the spouse’s sex.  The married couple, whether homosexual or heterosexual, will be recognized as equal under the federal provisions.  The memorandum issued by the Justice Department on Monday said everyone is recognized and should receive equal treatment in civil and criminal court systems.  Holder further said he will expand rights and the same-sex couples will benefit from full federal rules.

Even where the states do not validate the same-sex marriage, the federal government will not discriminate against someone according to state provisions, but will use federal policies that are equal for all.  New policies will ensure that federal law does not treat anyone differently solely based on their personal sexual orientation.  The states will have to abide by the rules set by the national government.  Gay couples will now be allowed to claim marital privileges when confronting the judicial system in which previously they have confronted system’s prejudice.

The federal policies will secure same-sex couples similar rights of visitation in the jail and gay spouses should not be compelled to swear in court against their spouse in criminal litigation.  Same-sex couples also will be allowed to receive federal funds, death rights,  employee benefits, educational grants and apply for federal funds program such as the 9/11 Compensation Fund.  The US Attorney General sees this struggle of same-sex couples as similar to the 1960s civil rights moment.  Gay couples are fighting to receive equal treatment under federal law, just as in the 1960s, African Americans struggled to obtain equal civil liberties under the federal law.  According to the US Attorney General Holder, the rights will be extended to everyone equally, regardless of sex, and same-sex married couples will be recognized in the federal system.

After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last year, this is an additional leap toward granting same-sex couples the same benefits that heterosexual couples do.  This is another positive step of the current administration to guarantee that everyone is treated equally, and new federal laws will address issues that were neglected earlier.  The Department of Justice announced that the Obama administration will be extending benefits for gay couples in which they will receive protection and the same rights as heterosexual couples.

The Justice Department’s role today is described as being similar to the department back in the 1960s during civil rights moment.  Robert Kennedy worked to advance the civil liberties of African Americans during the ’60s, and today the Department of Justice is doing what it can to contribute to the advancement of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual rights.  The movement has been categorized as the “confronting discrimination” battle.  The US Trustee Initiative will also work to ensure that gay couples have right to file bankruptcy and alimony rights.  After the US Supreme Court struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act last summer, many states began to recognize same-sex couples’ marriages.  More than seventeen states now recognize same-sex marriages and people in these states cherish equal privileges and benefits as any other couple.  However, there are many states where the battle to advance gay rights continues.  Holder has won compliments from gay and lesbians groups for the work he is trying to do to advance their rights.  He is really working towards the fundamental principle of equality for all under law in the US Constitution.

The Justice Department’s policies will work toward the areas in which the gay couple did not receive any rights.  This is the latest leap of the Obama administration to implement laws that will provide gay couples rights and privileges under federal regulation.  However, where there is support towards advancement of rights for all, there are opponents who do not agree with Holder.  Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage  commented that the administration is trying to step over states’ powers and issue a verdict on certain issues such as marriage, and it is potentially dangerous for the public.  The statutes will guarantee the safety of the same-sex spouse and can also be persecuted if caught violating any federal rule. The US Attorney General Eric Holder ensures that gay rights are recognized by the federal government and he will work to expand the Obama same-sex marriage rights.

By Iqra Amjad

Sources:

New York Daily

USA Today

Reuters