LAKEWOOD, Ohio -- The federal government will recognize same-sex legal marriages as equal to opposite sex marriages.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made the announcement Saturday.
"We will never rest in our efforts to safeguard the civil rights to which everyone in this country is entitled," Holder said at a Human Rights Campaign event.
Federal benefits include not being forced to testify in court against a spouse, being able to file for federal joint bankruptcy and survivor benefits for police officers and firefighters killed on the job.
Holder compared the efforts of the LGBT community to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
“The stakes involved in this generation's struggle for LGBT equality could not be higher,” Holder said. "As attorney general, I will not let this Department be simply a bystander during this important moment in history - we will act."
Ohio is one of the 34 states which do not allow same sex marriage.
Jen and Melissa of Lakewood were legally married in New York in 2011. We are not using their last names because they fear discrimination.
"We don't like to be the gay couple or - we're just a couple, so we're just recognized now on a federal base that we're just a couple," Melissa said.
"I really think that our kids, or our grand kids, because I'm sure we will have grand kids, are going to laugh and say 'what do you mean my grandmas couldn't get married,'” Jen said.
Holder is expected to order the equal rights changes implemented on Monday.
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