'Taking The Side Of Equality': Eric Holder Pushes For Same-Sex Marriage Rights

| by Ethan Brown
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In a new piece published by USA Today, United States Attorney General Eric Holder advocated for same-sex marriage to be legal in all states, stating that “the time has come to recognize” the rights of all American citizens.

Holder continued his support for the legalization of same-sex marriage, writing: “Nothing justifies excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage. Denying them the right to marry serves only to demean them and their children, to degrade the dignity of their families and to deny them the full, free and equal participation in American life to which every citizen is entitled.”

He also referenced the “stigma” that allows and encourages “individuals to harass or belittle their loved ones because of pressures brought by their community."  

The Attorney General also discussed the growing support of same-sex marriage throughout the country during his six years working with the White House.

“When I took office in February 2009, only two states, Massachusetts and Connecticut, allowed same-sex couples to marry," Holder said. "But a seismic shift over the last six years has pushed that tally to 37, leaving fewer states with same-sex marriage bans in force today than there were with interracial marriage bans in 1967 when the Supreme Court deemed them unconstitutional."

Writing about the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Holder wrote that he believed “DOMA was indefensible” and believed the higher court did the right thing by voting to repeal it.

Since his ascension to Attorney General in 2009, Holder has been vocal about his support for gay rights. At one point, he said he thought of gay rights as a “continuation” of the civil rights movement for black Americans in the 1960’s, specifically calling gay rights “the defining civil rights challenges of our time.”

In February 2014, Holder’s Justice Department expanded rights for same-sex couples, including rights and services in states that have bans on same-sex marriage. 

Holder will stay in his position until his successor, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. 

Sources: USA Today, New York Times, CNN, USNews.com

Photo Credit: North Charleston/Flickr, May S. Young/Flickr