Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation's highest law enforcement official, said Friday that the federal government will recognize gay marriages that take place in Michigan — despite the fact that a court just ordered a halt to the ceremonies going forward.
Mr. Holder's statement will impact about 300 same-sex couples who married before a federal appeals court order put a stop to the ceremonies, Fox News reported.
A U.S. District judge had struck down the state's ban on gay marriage earlier this month. The matter headed to appeal, with the Michigan governor against the granting of gay marriage licenses.
Earlier this week, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a halt to the issuance of gay marriage licenses, Fox News reported.
But in the meantime, a handful of counties in the state started giving out licenses to same-sex couples who wanted to marry.
Now Mr. Holder's announcement gives the gay couples the right to obtain Social Security benefits and to file joint taxes.
"Those families will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages," Mr. Holder said in a statement reported by Fox News.
It's Mr. Holder's latest step into state politics and state debates on the same-sex marriage issue. He recently made the same announcement for Utah and for more than 1,000 couples there who married but then saw their unions placed in a holding status during a court dispute.
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