The federal government will recognize marriages performed in Utah after a judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban, Attorney General Holder said Friday, noting that the newly-wedded gay couples “should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status” as the legal challenges unfold.
Holder’s announcement comes two days after Utah ordered its state offices not to do anything that would acknowledge the more than 1,000 same-sex marriages performed in the state over a nearly three-week period after a federal judge struck down the ban on Dec. 20.
The Supreme Court ordered a stay on those weddings on Monday while the state challenges the judge’s ruling.
“I am confirming today that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages,” Holder said. “These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds.”
Gay couples celebrated the decision, which will open up more than 1,100 federal benefits to them.
“The problem remains that the state has selected a group of people to discriminate against,” said Seth Anderson, who married his husband Michael Ferguson in the first gay marriage to be held in Salt Lake City on Dec. 20. The federal government’s decision “means that we’re treated equally and I think it also underscores the importance of why marriage equality has to be a federal issue.”
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.