US government to expand recognition of same-sex marriage
NEW YORK (AFP) - US Attorney General Eric Holder will expand government recognition of same-sex marriages in all federal courtrooms and prisons on Monday, and ensure they receive the same benefits as heterosexual ones.
The move, which Mr Holder announced on Saturday at a gay rights dinner gala in New York, marks a major gain for advocates of same-sex couples after the Supreme Court issued two rulings expanding gay marriage rights last year.
Under the new policy, same-sex couples will enjoy the privileges even in states that do not recognise their marriages, so long as they legally wed in another state.
Among the key benefits the Justice Department will now ensure are extended to same-sex couples are the compensation fund for the September 11, 2001 attacks, as well as death and educational benefits for the surviving spouses of police officers and firefighters injured or killed in the line of duty.