People Weigh in on Gay Marriage Federal Benefits Change


HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- The Justice Department will issue a memo on Monday recognizing people in same-sex marriages in legal matters federally.

One homosexual couple in a long term relationship says Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement is a step.

Jeffery Mullins puts logs in the fire, while his partner Dale Fulk cooks dinner. They own a business together and make stone veneers.

"We're individuals and the fact that we're a couple, we're gay is, just one aspect of who we are," said Fulk.

Supporters of the family speak to the men's character.

"They are amazing as far as it takes a village to raise children and I'm here with my daughter Jessica and Jessica finds their home a very safe refuge," said Cindy Carr, a friend.

Both say they've dealt with some challenges to certain rights.

"Basically you know, I'm a slave, I'm a slave to the country.... I can't go into the hospital and say you know, have any say," said Jeffery Mullins.

Through the Justice Department, married same sex couples will be able to have prison visitation rights, the legal right to refuse to testify when a spouse is involved in a federal case, among other changes.

"It may not sound like a big deal to a lot of folks but for the people who are in that situation it is a big deal," said Dale Fulk.

Political analyst Dr. Bob Roberts says state rights and federal rights come into play with this.

"Federal government has done almost everything it can do right now. So this is really the last shoe they can put out there," said Dr. Roberts, with James Madison University.

Gay marriage is state by state right now.

"He wants to send a message to the Justice Department somewhat like what the justice department did in the early 1960s, when they dealt with race discrimination," said Dr. Roberts.

Whatever the next step, Mullins and Fulk say they're committed to each other.

"I'm with the person that I choose to live my life with," said Mullins.


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