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Attorney General Eric Holder Applies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling To Justice Department

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Attorney General Eric Holder made a historic announcement Saturday regarding same-sex marriage rights.

Holder was headline speaker at the 13th annual Human Rights Campaign's "Greater New York Gala" at the Waldorf Astoria, 1010 WINS reported.

Attorney General Eric Holder Applies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling To Justice Department

Holder said that moving forward, all benefits and rights granted to opposite-sex marriages by the Department of Justice will be extended to same-sex spouses, 1010 WINS' Gary Baumgarten reported.

Holder said same-sex spouses cannot be compelled to testify against each other, should be eligible to file for bankruptcy jointly and are entitled to the same rights and privileges as federal prison inmates in opposite-sex marriages.

"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,'' Holder said during his gala speech.

Holder's address is the latest application of a Supreme Court ruling that struck down a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The decision applies to legally married same-sex couples seeking federal benefits.

Following the landmark Supreme Court decision last June, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service said that all legally married same-sex couples may file joint federal tax returns, even if they reside in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages.

The Defense Department also took a cue from the Supreme Court ruling, extending military spousal benefits to same-sex couples.

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