The federal government is recognizing gay marriage in six more states, extending federal benefits to those couples.
Attorney General Eric Holder says the states are: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Saturday’s announcement brings the total number of states with federal recognition of same-sex marriage to 32, plus the District of Columbia.
Couples married in these states will qualify for a range of federal benefits, including Social Security and veterans’ benefits.
Holder says the Justice Department also has determined that it can legally recognize gay marriages performed in Indiana and Wisconsin after federal courts declared state marriage bans unconstitutional. Subsequent developments created confusion about the status of those unions, but Holder says the federal government will recognize the marriages.