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U.S. Justice Department to expand rights of same-sex couples

Sunday, February 09, 2014 - 01:03

Feb.9 - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announces plans for widespread changes within the U.S. Justice Department to benefit same-sex married couples. Sarah Toms reports.

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The U.S. Justice Department is expanding federal recognition of same sex marriages. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages get the same rights, protections, and privileges as heterosexual unions in every federal courthouse. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER SAYING: "On Monday I will issue a new policy memorandum that will for the first time in history formally instruct all Justice Department employees to give lawful same-sex marriages full and equal recognition to the greatest extent possible under the law." The policy change also includes the handling of bankruptcy proceedings and visitation rights at federal prisons. Gay marriage is legal in 17 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The change will apply to same-sex couples residing even in states where these marriages are not recognised. The new policy follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision last June that struck down the federal Defence of Marriage Act's definition of marriage as a heterosexual union, a provision that had denied legally married gay couples federal benefits.

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U.S. Justice Department to expand rights of same-sex couples

Sunday, February 09, 2014 - 01:03