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

44 mins ago in Local

Court Upholds TV Pitchman Kevin Trudeau’s 10-Year Sentence

Fresh
wtax 011015

An appeals court in Chicago has upheld a 10-year prison term for best-selling author Kevin Trudeau.

49 mins ago in Local

Hung Jury Declared in Trial of Former Illinois Prosecutor

Fresh
gavel2

Judge Bob Hardwick declared a mistrial Friday evening in the trial of Curtis Lovelace.

54 mins ago in Local

Amtrak, Illinois Reach Deal to Maintain Instate Service

Fresh
amtrak

The deal announced Friday will maintain service through the end of the fiscal year on June 30 at a cost of $38.3 million to the state. The department paid $42 million the previous fiscal year.

12 hours ago in Local

State Museum to Reopen with Governor’s Amendatory Veto

Illinois State Museum

Rauner has amendatorily vetoed a bill lawmakers approved a few months ago that would reopen the museum and all its satellite locations.

12 hours ago in Local

Woman Convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter of Child Sentenced

Cammie Kelly

Cammie Kelly is going to prison for four years.