US: Federal government recognises equal marriage in 6 more states

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The US Attorney General has announced that the federal government will recognise same-sex marriage in six more states – bringing the total to 32.

The number of states with marriage equality has sharply risen in the past month, in the aftermath of a Supreme Court decision to not hear the issue – up from just 19 a month ago.

Attorney General Eric Holder added Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming – all of which have opted to begin same-sex weddings in the past few weeks – to the federal list today.

The move means that same-sex couples in those states are recognised as married by the federal government for all purposes, including benefits.

Mr Holder said: “With each new state where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, our nation moves closer to achieving full equality for all Americans.

“We are acting as quickly as possible with agencies throughout the government to ensure that same-sex couples in these states receive the fullest array of benefits allowable under federal law.”

The move comes just a week after federal recognition began in Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Mr Holder, the most vocally pro-gay politicians in the Obama administration, announced last month that he would step down as Attorney General as soon as a successor can be appointed.

He has served as the country’s top law official since 2008, and was just one of three remaining members of President Obama’s original cabinet.