U.S. will recognize 300 same-sex marriages in Mich., Holder says

Same-sex couples hug after getting married in a group ceremony at the Oakland County Courthouse March 22, 2014, in Pontiac, Mich. On Friday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. will recognize those marriages despite Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s decision not to grant the couples state benefits. Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday that the federal government will recognize the 300 same-sex marriages that took place last week in Michigan, despite the stay that was placed on further ceremonies by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Saturday.

Holder said in a statement that these Michigan couples will receive federal benefits.

One week ago a federal judge in Detroit ruled that Michigan’s ban on gay marriages violated the U.S. Constitution, allowing hundreds of same-sex marriages to be performed in four counties the following day.

But then Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced Wednesday that although the marriages were legal, the state won’t extend marriage rights and benefits to those same-sex couples until further court rulings.

Invoking a similar announcement he made in January for 1,000 same-sex couples in Utah, Holder explained that “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.”

Michigan joins a growing list of states, including Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, that have overturned gay marriage bans since December.

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