Eric Holder Hub




Eric Holder Announces Federal Government Will Recognize Gay Marriages in Six More States

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the federal government will recognize same-sex married couples in six additional states: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Last week, Holder made a similar announcement regarding federal recognition of same-sex marriages in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Colorado. 

Via press release:

The Attorney General’s announcement means couples married in these states will now qualify for a range of federal benefits, including those administered by the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs.

“With each new state where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, our nation moves closer to achieving of full equality for all Americans,” the Attorney General said. “We are acting as quickly as possible with agencies throughout the government to ensure that same-sex married couples in these states receive the fullest array of benefits allowable under federal law.”

In addition, the Attorney General also announced that the Department of Justice has determined it can legally recognize marriages performed in Indiana and Wisconsin this past June. These marriages were performed immediately after federal district courts ruled that those states’ bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, but subsequent developments created confusion about the status of those marriages. Based on the Attorney General’s announcement, however, those couples married during that period will now have their unions recognized by the federal government.


Eric Holder Announces Federal Government Will Recognize Gay Marriage in Seven New States: VIDEO

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Responding to the Supreme Court's marriage decision last week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the federal government will begin recognizing same-sex marriages taking place in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Idaho - with additional states likely to follow.

Said Holder:

“I am pleased to announce that the federal government will recognize the same-sex marriages now taking place in the affected states, and I have directed lawyers here at the Department of Justice to work with our colleagues at agencies across the Administration to ensure that all applicable federal benefits are extended to those couples as soon as possible.  We will not delay in fulfilling our responsibility to afford every eligible couple, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, the full rights and responsibilities to which they are entitled.

He continued:

The steady progress toward LGBT equality we’ve seen – and celebrated – is important and historic.  But there remain too many places in this country where men and women cannot visit their partners in the hospital, or be recognized as the rightful parents of their own adopted children; where people can be discriminated against just because they are gay.  Challenges to marriage restrictions are still being actively litigated in courts across the country.  And while federal appeals courts have so far been unanimous in finding that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, if a disagreement does arise, the Supreme Court may address the question head-on.  If that happens, the Justice Department is prepared to file a brief consistent with its past support for marriage equality. 

Watch Holder's full remarks HERE.

In addition to the seven states above, marriage equality has also come to West Virginia, North Carolina, and Arizona (announced earlier today).

Gay marriage began in Alaska but has since been put on hold while the state appeals a pro-equality ruling to the Supreme Court (expect marriages to resume later today)

A federal court ruling in the challenge to Wyoming's gay marriage ban is expected Monday, with Governor Matt Mead saying the state will respect whatever decision is made.


The Right Enemies: A Look Back at Right-Wing Attacks on Eric Holder

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BY LAYNE AMERIKANER

Attorney General Eric Holder, who this week announced his plans to resign, has been a leader in addressing systems of racial discrimination and protecting the fundamental rights of every American to be treated equally under the law and participate in our democracy.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that the Right loves to hate him.

Tim HuelskampIn February of this year, the American Family Association demanded Holder’s impeachment after he had the audacity to treat married same-sex couples like married opposite-sex couples with regard to a host of legal rights and recognitions. Shortly after, both Faith and Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed and Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp [pictured right] echoed the call for Holder’s impeachment because of his support for marriage equality. Televangelist Pat Robertson also joined the impeachment parade, alleging that under Holder, “sodomy” was being “elevated above the rights of religious believers.”

Holder’s commitment to redressing racial injustice was no more warmly received by the Right than his work in support of LGBT equality. After Holder spoke out against voter ID laws, which disproportionately harm people of color, Texas Gov. Rick Perry accused him of “purposefully” “incit[ing] racial tension.” Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt argued that Holder’s open discussion of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system means that he is the real “racist,” asserting last year that Holder wants to “intimidate the rest of the country so that we don’t think about defending ourselves” against “attacks by black mobs on white individuals.” Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association went so far as to say that Holder would never “prosecute someone if the victim is white.” And after Holder visited Ferguson, Missouri last month, David Horowitz outrageously commented that the attorney general was leading a black “lynch mob.”

And those are just a handful of the attacks the Right has leveled against Holder for his work protecting equality under the law.

The fact that the far Right has reacted with so much vitriol to the attorney general’s leadership is a sign not only of how uninterested they are in the civil rights that the Justice Department is meant to protect, but also of how effective Holder’s work has been. The next attorney general should share Holder’s deep commitment to protecting the rights of all Americans – and, by extension, make all the “right” enemies among those hoping to turn back the clock on civil liberties.

This post originally appeared on People For the American Way's blog.

This post originally appeared on the PFAW blog.

AG Eric Holder Expects Justice Department to File SCOTUS Brief Supporting Marriage Equality: VIDEO

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In an interview last night with NBC News' Pete Williams, Attorney General Eric Holder was asked whether the Justice Department will file a brief in the gay marriage cases currently before the Supreme Court. 

On Monday, SCOTUS is set to consider whether to take up marriage equality cases from five states - Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin. 

Said Holder:

I expect that the Justice Department will file a brief and the brief will be consistent with the positions that we have taken in the past in support of same-sex marriage. I can't imagine that that would be -- that we would take any other position in -- while this president is in office, and certainly as long as I am attorney general, or anybody who is my successor.

When Williams followed up with a question asking whether the country was ready for gay marriage, Holder responded in the affirmative. 

Yeah, I think the country is ready for that. I think all the polls certainly show that. The reactions to the continuing number of court cases that have found same-sex marriage to be constitutionally mandated -- the polls have shown that the American people, I think, are prepared to accept that. Now this has been a sea change. This is something that has happened, I think, relatively quickly. Part of it is generational. I talk to my kids, who seem, no problems with this, no issues with this at all. But I think it's more than a generational change. I think that people who know folks who are gay, who are lesbian, and who are their friends, their coworkers, they see the moral side to this. Um, it's a civil-rights issue. From my perspective, it is the civil-rights issue of our day -- gay and lesbian equality.

Check out the full interview - in which Holder also discusses his early life and career, his relationship with President Obama, the work he's done on voting rights, Robert Kennedy, the housing crisis, ISIS and more - AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "AG Eric Holder Expects Justice Department to File SCOTUS Brief Supporting Marriage Equality: VIDEO" »


Attorney General Eric Holder Resigns; Groups Push for LGBT Nominee — VIDEO

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President Obama today announced the resignation, reported earlier, of Attorney General Eric Holder.

Obama lauded Holder for his work in the Justice Department and as Attorney General, "from counterterrorism to civil rights, public corruption to white-collar crime."

Also noted were Holder's efforts to strengthen hate crimes law and his recommendation that the federal government stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, opening the door to federal recognition of same-sex marriage, and federal benefits for same-sex couples.

Holder also mentioned that work, among many other issues:

We have begun to realize the promise of equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters and their families.  We have begun to significantly reform our criminal justice system and reconnect those who bravely serve in law enforcement with the communities that they protect.

Watch the announcement and read a transcript of the remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

DurkanIn related news, the Human Rights Campaign today urged Obama to replace Holder with the first LGBT cabinet member:

"President Obama faces a historic opportunity in light of Attorney General Holder's departure,” said Chad Griffin, President of HRC. “The President has expressed a commitment to appointing a cabinet that reflects the full diversity of the American people, and there are many richly-qualified candidates available to serve as the first openly-LGBT cabinet secretary. It would be a natural extension of this administration's enduring commitment to equality to send a message of visibility and inclusion by nominating such a candidate to serve in this historic role."

One potential nominee is U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, Buzzfeed reports:

“It will be a huge milestone if the president chooses a qualified LGBT American like Jenny Durkan,” Torey Carter, managing director of the Victory Fund, told BuzzFeed News. “It would send a signal that experience and ability matter a lot more than gender or sexual orientation, and that would matter a lot to young people who worry they can’t be authentically themselves and still succeed in life.”

Continue reading "Attorney General Eric Holder Resigns; Groups Push for LGBT Nominee — VIDEO" »


Eric Holder to Step Down As Attorney General

Attorney General Eric Holder is prepped to announce his resignation today, NPR reports:

HolderTwo sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly "adamant" about his desire to leave soon for fear he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama's second term. [...]

Holder most wants to be remembered for his record on civil rights: refusing to defend a law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman; suing North Carolina and Texas over voting restrictions that disproportionately affect minorities and the elderly; launching 20 investigations of abuses by local police departments; and using his bully pulpit to lobby Congress to reduce prison sentences for non-violent drug crimes. Many of those sentences disproportionately hurt minority communities.

NPR's source adds that Solicitor General Don Verrilli, the administration's top representative to the Supreme Court who argued before SCOTUS against Prop 8 last year, is a leading candidate for replacement. 


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