Same-sex marriages (SSM) & civil unions
2014-FEB: Justice Department gives same-sex
opposite-sex marriages equal protection in
As of 2014-FEB-10, the federal Justice Department will give lawful same-sex marriages equal protection under the law in every program that it administers. This includes lawsuits in federal courts, prison visites by married same-sex spouses, financial compensation to surviving spouses of public safety offices, etc. These apply even if the state where the same-sex couple -- or surviving spouse -- lives does not recognize same-sex marriages.
On 2014-FEB-08, Attorney General Eric Holder revealed this new policy at an annual gala of the Human Rights Campaign in New York, NY. He said:
"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
"This means that, in every courthouse, in every proceeding and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States — they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections, and rights as opposite-sex marriages under federal law.
And this policy has important, real-world implications for same-
sex married couples that interact with the criminal justice system. ..."
In this great country, we move faster, we reach farther, and we climb higher whenever we stand together as one. That’s why this Administration, this Department of Justice –- and this Attorney General -- will never stop fighting to ensure equal protection. We will never rest in our efforts to safeguard the civil rights to which everyone in this country is entitled.
And we will never waver in our determination to build on the progress we’ve seen -- and bring about the changes our citizens deserve. ..."
"We are, right now, in the middle of marking a number of 50 - year anniversaries of key milestones in the Civil Rights Movement –-
from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, in 1963, to this summer’s anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. ..."
And yet, as all-important as the fight against racial discrimination was then, and remains today, know this: my commitment to confronting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity runs just as deep. Just as was true during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the stakes involved in this generation’s struggle for LGBT equality could not be higher. Then, as now, nothing less than our country’s founding commitment to the notion of equal protection under the law was at stake. And so the Justice Department’s role in confronting discrimination must be as aggressive today as it was in Robert
Kennedy’s time. As Attorney General, I will never let this Department be simply a bystander during this important moment in history. We will act." 1
Reactions to the Attorney General's speech:
Reactions are as expected. Religious and social conservatives were outraged; the LGBT community, religious and social liberals, and civil rights groups were enthusiastic, and the mainline news media reported the news straight up:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlink are not necessarily still active today.
- "Remarks as prepared for delivery ..." Department of Justice, 20`4-FEB-08, at: http://www.hrc.org/ This is another accursed PDF file.
- "Justice Department to give married same-sex couples equal protection," Washington Post, 2014-FEB-08, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
- Sari Horowitz, Evan Perez, "Feds to expand legal benefits, services for same-sex marriages," CNN, 2014-FEB-09, at: http://www.cnn.com/
- "Justice Department Announcement Illustrates Administration's Lawlessness, says Family Research Council," CNBC, 2014-FEB-08, at: http://www.cnbc.com/
- Dev;om Barrett, "Holder Widens Rights for Gay Married Couples Wall Street Journal," 2014-FEB-09, at: http://online.wsj.com/
Copyright © 2014 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2014-FEB-10
Latest update and review: 2014-FEB-10
Author: B.A. Robinson