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US government will recognize gay marriages performed in Michigan even if state won't

Attorney General Eric Holder says couples will not be asked to wait for further resolution in the courts before seeking federal benefits
US Attorney General Eric_Holder
Photo: US Department of Justice

US Attorney General Eric Holder said today that the marriages of the more than 300 same-sex couples wed last weekend in Michigan will be recognized by the federal government.

Holder's announcement comes days after Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said the state would not recognize the marriages while there was a legal stay on last week's ruling by a federal judge which overturned the state's gay marriage ban.

Said Holder: 'I have determined that the same-sex marriages performed last Saturday in Michigan will be recognized by the federal government. These families will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages.'

Added Holder: ''The Governor of Michigan has made clear that the marriages that took place on Saturday were lawful and valid when entered into, although Michigan will not extend state rights and benefits tied to these marriages pending further legal proceedings.'

The attorney general took earlier this year when Utah said it would not recognize the more than 1,000 same-sex marriages performed after that state's marriage ban was thrown out by a federal judge.

'For purposes of federal law, as I announced in January with respect to similarly situated same-sex couples in Utah, these Michigan couples will not be asked to wait for further resolution in the courts before they may seek federal benefits to which they are entitled,' Holder said.

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