02.09.143:48 PM ET

Same Sex Couples Granted Equal Rights

One step closer towards marriage equality.

Soon, same-sex married couples will be conferred the same rights as any other wedded pair. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. intends to implement a directive on Monday that will extend governmental recognition of same-sex marriages to all federal courtrooms and prisons, as well as a number of federal benefits programs. All couples, regardless of sexual orientation, will be able to file for bankruptcy, visit their families in prison, and are be protected by spousal privilege when they testify in court.  Holder is in the process of removing the distinction between same-sex and heterosexual married couples in the criminal justice system in order “to ensure that gay marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages.” Despite these federal changes, the new rulings will not override state laws regarding marriage equality. Currently, the District of Columbia and 17 states have legalized same-sex marriage, yet countless others still ban and delegitimate these unions. But nevertheless—it’s progress.