Justice Dept.: Federal Government Will Recognize Michigan’s Same-Sex Marriages

by Andrew Johnson

Attorney general Eric Holder announced that the U.S. government will recognize the marriages of 300 same-sex couples in Michigan who wedded over the weekend following a judge’s ruling that overturned the state’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. The couples got married during a short window in between the initial judge’s ruling and a higher judge’s stay of the decision.

Michigan governor Rick Snyder said the state will not recognize the marriages until the legal process has been fully carried out, meaning they will not be eligible for state benefits. Nonetheless, Holder’s decision makes the couples eligible for federal benefits.

The state’s Democratic congressional delegation had called on Holder to recognize the marriages this week.

Holder’s announcement is reminiscent of action he took earlier this year regarding same-sex couples in Utah under similar circumstances: 1,300 couples married after a district judge struck down the state’s definition of marriage as unconstitutional, but the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately halted the decision.

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