Metro Weekly

Federal Act Applies

Justice Department applies intimate-partner protections to same sex couples

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The criminal provisions of the Violence Against Women Act – which allow the federal government to prosecute those who travel across state lines to attempt to kill or stalk a partner or violate related protection orders – apply to same-sex relationships, according to a memorandum dated April 27 from the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which was made public on Wednesday, June 9.

This understanding of the act comes despite one of its laws providing coverage only for the ”spouse or intimate partner” of an individual. The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines ”marriage” and ”spouse” as being limited only to opposite-sex couples, does not apply to the use of ”intimate partner” in the statutes, the memo concludes. The memo was signed by Acting Assistant Attorney General David Barron.

The reasoning in the memorandum appears to be similar reasoning to that being employed by the administration in the extension of same-sex partner benefits.

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Shelf Wood

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