(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. government will recognize all the same-sex couples who were married in Michigan on March 22, Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Friday.
“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,” Holder said in a statement Friday.
Earlier this week, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said that while all the couples were married legally, their benefits would be suspended until an appeal is heard regarding the state’s same-sex marriage law.
A U.S. district court struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage last Saturday morning, and later that afternoon, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the ruling until a decision was made as to whether the district court’s ruling should stand.
“After comprehensive legal review…we have concluded that same-sex couples were legally married at county clerk offices in the time period between U.S. District Judge Freidman’s ruling and the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporary stay of that ruling,” Snyder said.
Even though Michigan will not extend state rights and benefits to these couples, Holder said, “For purposes of federal law…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.”
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Pat Reavy, CNN
Sara Israelsen-Hartley, Deseret News
Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN
Joshua Berlinger, Cheri Mossburg and Holly Yan, CNN