Eric Holder says married Michigan same-sex couples will get federal benefits

Attorney General Eric Holder said that the 300 or so same-sex couples who got married in Michigan after a judge struck down the state’s ban on the unions will get federal benefits. However, Michigan’s governor said that the state itself will not recognize the marriages.

The ban was ruled unconstitutional last week, allowing same-sex marriage to begin immediately. Later, a federal appeals court halted the unions, but not before around 300 couples got married. According to Fox News, the stay was extended indefinitely on Tuesday.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, then said that the 300 couples would not get state benefits for married couples, as the ban has been reinstated, as of now. He still said that the couples had a “legal marriage.” Until the ban is lifted though, they will not be recognized.

On Friday, Holder said that the couples who were married on Saturday will get federal benefits, though, reports Politico.

“These families will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages,” Holder said. “The governor of Michigan has made clear that the marriages that took place on Saturday were lawful and valid when entered into, although Michigan will not extend state rights and benefits tied to these marriages pending further legal proceedings.”

Holder later referenced Snyder’s statement, but said that since the Utah couples who were married before that state appealed a decision, are getting federal benefits, the same should be available for the Michigan couples.

“For purposes of federal law, as I announced in January with respect to similarly situated same-sex couples in Utah, 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,” Holder explained.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in 17 states, plus the District of Columbia.

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