FILE – In this March 22, 2014 file photo Kat White, left, and Sue Walton hug after being married in a group ceremony by the Oakland County Clerk in Pontiac, Mich., after a federal judge has struck down Michigan’s ban on gay marriage. Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday, March 28, 2014 extended federal recognition to the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples that took place in Michigan before a federal appeals court put those unions on hold. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has extended federal recognition to the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples that took place in Michigan before a federal appeals court put those unions on hold. The government will now be able to extend eligibility for federal benefits to the Michigan couples who married last weekend, allowing them to file federal taxes jointly, get Social Security benefits for spouses and request legal immigration status for partners, among other benefits.
The families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their benefits while courts decide the issue of same-sex marriage in Michigan, the attorney general said. He did the same thing in Utah, where more than 1,000 same-sex couples got married before the U.S. Supreme Court put those unions on hold in January after a federal judge overturned the conservative state’s same-sex marriage ban in December.
Holder’s decision came a week after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman in Detroit struck down the gay marriage ban and two days after Michigan Governor Rick Snyder called last weekend’s marriages legal but stated Michigan would not recognize them.
This report compiled with information from the Associated Press.