|Vittorio Hernandez |||Oct 26, 2014 05:44 AM EDT|
(Photo : REUTERS/RICK WILKING) Plaintiffs Derek Kitchen (L-R) and Moudi Sbeity and Kate Call and Karen Archer talk outside the courthouse after a federal appeals court heard oral arguments on a Utah state law forbidding same sex marriage in Denver in an April 10, 2014 file photo.
A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in early October not to entertain appeals from five states that wanted to retain their prohibition on same-sex marriages brought to 32 the number of states that recognize gay and lesbian weddings.
The latest to the list, which also includes the District of Columbia, are the states of Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming, Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Saturday.
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The recognition means that same-sex couples married in these 33 areas would qualify for several federal benefits such as Social Security and veterans' benefit. Holder said the federal government is working to ensure that the gay and lesbian pairs in the 32 states, especially those in the six new ones added to the roster, would get the fullest array of benefits that federal regulations would permit.
"With each new state where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, our nation moves close to achieving full equality for all Americans," Holder said in a statement.
Soon, Indiana and Wisconsin would also be included in the list after federal courts declare the marriage bans in these two states unconstitutional. That would mean the U.S. Justice Department could legally recognize same-sex marriages performed in the two states this summer.
The October decision by the Supreme Court showed the growing acceptance of same-sex unions in the U.S., preceded by the court's 2013 ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and woman only.
CBS also cited a survey it made which showed a 14 percent uptick in attitude toward gay marriages as the percentage of respondents who said they favor the legalization of same-sex unions increased to 56 percent from 42 percent in spring of 2012.
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