The federal government Saturday recognized same-sex marriage in six additional states, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said. The announcement applies to marriages in Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.
With the announcement, those couples will gain access to federal benefits from agencies including the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Internal Revenue Service.
The U.S. now recognizes same-sex marriage in 32 states and the District of Columbia -- including the seven states that joined the list last week: Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The moves by the Justice Department follow the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal earlier this month to hear cases on same-sex marriage bans in five states.
“With each new state where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, our nation moves closer to achieving of full equality for all Americans,” Holder 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.”