The U.S. Justice Department is expanding federal recognition of same sex marriages even in states where such marriages are illegal.
Attorney General Eric Holder plans to announce the changes at a dinner Saturday sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group.
Holder plans to say that the Justice Department will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages get the same rights, protections, and privileges as heterosexual unions in every federal courthouse.
This includes such matters as bankruptcy proceedings and visitation rights at federal prisons.
Holder plans to formally introduce the policy Monday.
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin calls this a landmark announcement that will change the lives of committed gay and lesbian couples for the better.
The U.S. Supreme Court threw out the government's Defense of Marriage Act last year. That measure defined marriage as only being between a man and a woman.
Some information for this report comes from AFP and Reuters.