Target: Attorney General Eric Holder
Goal: Show support for the Justice Department’s extension of benefits to married same-sex couples
The Justice Department recently announced that married same-sex couples will receive equal treatment in all areas overseen by the department, regardless of whether the proceedings are taking place in a state in which same-sex marriage is legal.
Attorney General Eric Holder, head of the Justice Department, announced the move on Saturday, saying that the fight for LGBT equality is “the defining civil rights challenge of our time.” The policy allows same-sex couples many of the rights and privileges that were previously reserved only for straight couples.
Some of these rights include protection from testifying against a spouse in court, the ability to file jointly for bankruptcy, and survivor benefits in the case of the death of a public safety officer. Further, the policy allows for certain benefits for inmates who are married to a person of the same sex, such as visitation rights, the right to correspond with a spouse, permission to attend a spouse’s funeral and a reduction in sentence or compassionate release if a spouse becomes unable to care for themselves.
The move follows several other steps taken in recent years by the Justice Department and the Obama administration to slowly implement federal acceptance of gay marriage. Three years ago, the Justice Department declined to defend the Defense of Marriage Act – a federal law enacted during the Clinton administration that essentially defined marriage as between only members of the opposite sex for federal purposes – and it was declared unconstitutional. More recently, Holder announced that 1300 gay marriages in Utah would be recognized by the federal government despite a ruling that halted further same-sex marriages in the state.
The march towards equal rights for same-sex couples continues, if at a slow pace. This latest move by the federal government is another step in the right direction. Sign this petition to commend Attorney General Eric Holder and the rest of the Justice Department for their actions on behalf of the civil rights of gay couples.
Dear Attorney General Eric Holder,
Your recent announcement extending certain rights to married same-sex couples in areas administered by the Justice Department is a big step in the fight for equal rights for same-sex couples. As you recently stated, this struggle for LGBT rights is “the defining civil rights challenge of our time,” and this policy helps to further the cause.
I am writing to thank you for your work on behalf of the civil rights of the LGBT community and to encourage you to continue the fight.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Department of Justice