Attorney General: Federal government will recognize marriage equality in six more states

Today, U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced that the federal government will recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in six states that recently enacted marriage equality. These six states are Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.

This announcement means that couples living in those states are eligible for federal protections and responsibilities that come with marriage equality, including filing joint taxes, taxation on employee benefits, and continued health coverage.

Additionally, the Attorney General announced that the Department of Justice has determined that it can legally recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed this past June in Wisconsin and Indiana. Those marriages, which occurred immediately following federal court rulings overturning the states' bans on marriage equality, were previously called into question.

“Everyone should be able to marry the person they love. It’s just that simple,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Today, the Attorney General sided with fairness and respect for countless couples, who simply want to provide their families with the protections that only marriage can afford. But as legal victories continue to sweep the nation, we must redouble our work to boost public acceptance, which is beginning to lag behind the rapid pace of policy.”​

The announcement comes after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear cases related to marriage equality earlier this month. An additional ruling in the ninth circuit court of appeals also struck down marriage bans across the American west. These two actions brought the number of states with marriage equality from 19 to 32, with that number expected to grow.