Eric Holder to accord more recognition to gay couples in federal law enforcement

In a speech to a gay rights group in New York, Holder will promise that Justice Department lawyers will respect spousal privilege for same-sex couples in court proceedings and that officials will award full benefits to same-sex spouses of police officers and other public safety personnel killed in the line of duty.

“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 is to tell a Human Rights Campaign dinner, according to excerpts of his speech released in advance.

“The department will recognize that same-sex spouses of individuals involved in civil and criminal cases should have the same legal rights as all other married couples – including the right to decline to give testimony that might incriminate their spouse. The government will not object to an individual in a same-sex marriage invoking this right on the ground that the marriage is not recognized in the state where the couple lives,” Holder plans to say.