The federal government will recognize the marriages of the 322 same-sex couples who wed in Michigan last Saturday after a federal judge found that state’s marriage ban unconstitutional. The governor of Michigan is refusing to recognize those marriages. Attorney General Eric Holder made the announcement this morning, noting it is consistent with his application of a similar ruling in Utah.
“I have determined that the same-sex marriages performed last Saturday in Michigan will be recognized by the federal government,” Holder said in a statement. “These families will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages. 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. 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. ”
Indeed, both the governors of Utah and Michigan have refused to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples after judges ruled their states’ marriage bans unconstitutional. Both the Michigan ruling and the Utah ruling have been stayed, which the governors are using as an excuse to deny equal rights under the law.
“Last June’s decision by the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor was a victory for equal protection under the law and a historic step toward equality for all American families, Holder continued. “The Department of Justice continues to work with its federal partners to implement this decision across the government. And we will remain steadfast in our commitment to realizing our country’s founding ideals of equality, opportunity, and justice for all.”
Image by Steve Friess via Twitter
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