News

Federal government to recognize same-sex marriage in Michigan

Federal government to recognize same-sex marriage in Michigan

MARRIAGE:Same sex couples are married in a group by the Oakland County Clerk in Pontiac, Mich., Saturday, March 22. A federal judge has struck down Michigan's ban on gay marriage Friday the latest in a series of decisions overturning similar laws across the U.S. Some counties plan to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples Saturday, less than 24 hours after a judge overturned Michigan's ban on gay marriage. Photo: Associated Press//Paul Sancya

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The government said on Friday it would recognize same-sex marriages carried out last week in Michigan but left in limbo by a court appeal, making the couples entitled to appropriate federal benefits.

More than 300 couples were married last Saturday, a day after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman lifted Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban, saying it violated the U.S. Constitution.

The state appealed the ruling later on Saturday and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said the newly-weds would not receive state benefits of marriage until the matter is settled in court.

Same-sex marriage is now recognized in 17 out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement in Washington on Friday that the marriages performed on Saturday would 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,” he said.

While their recognition by their state is in question, the couples will have access to federal benefits including joint tax filings, social security benefits, and legal immigration status for foreign partners.

The Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization that advocates for the gay community, welcomed Holder’s decision.

It said in a statement he had “demonstrated his steadfast commitment to equality and upholding the core values of the U.S. Constitution by affirming federal recognition of these marriages.”

The Justice Department has taken similar positions to uphold federal recognition of same-sex marriage, established by the Supreme Court last summer in the landmark United States v. Windsor case.

In January, Holder announced the federal government would recognize same-sex marriages in Utah, which were also under dispute.

(Writing by Doina Chiacu and Julia Edwards; Editing by David Storey and Sofina Mirza-Reid)

Recent Headlines

2 hours ago in Entertainment

OPENING WEEKEND: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ is finally here

10-overlay

Here's a look at some of the films set to open this weekend.

2 hours ago in Lifestyle, National

Anti-hunger group uses fake app to fool, educate

18-overlay

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 14 percent of Americans, or more than 17 million people, are what is called food insecure, meaning at times of the year, they are uncertain of being able to acquire enough food for their household.

7 hours ago in Lifestyle

Emma and Noah continue to be tops for baby names

baby

When it comes to baby names, Americans seem to be somewhat united.

8 hours ago in Entertainment, Sports

Kobe Bryant’s ‘Dear Basketball’ to get Disney treatment

KOBE472419167185

Kobe Bryant's farewell poem to basketball is going to be turned into a short film.

9 hours ago in Entertainment, Weird

Fanciful ‘Boaty McBoatface’ passed over for vessel name

19-overlay-1

Don't expect to see Boaty McBoatface on the high seas.