Federal Government Will Recognize Same-Sex Marriages in Michigan

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said today the federal government will recognize the roughly 300 same-sex marriages that took place in Michigan last Saturday, before a federal appeals court put those unions on hold.

“I have determined that the same-sex marriages performed last Saturday in Michigan will be recognized by the federal government,” said Holder in a statement. ” These families will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages. 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.  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.”

You can read the full statement from Eric Holder HERE.

This action enables the government to extend eligibility for federal benefits to the couples, and comes two days after Governor Rick Snyder said that the State of Michigan will not recognize the marriages.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled one week ago that Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, and enjoined the state from enforcing the ban.

Four counties, including Ingham County, granted same-sex marriage licenses before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a halt. The stay was extended indefinitely on Tuesday.

We will continue to monitor developments surrounding the decision in DeBoer v. Snyder, and the implications for your employee benefit plans. For more information, contact attorney Elizabeth H. Latchana at 517.377.0826 or elatchana@fraserlawfirm.com, or attorney Brian Gallagher at 517.377.0886 or bgallagher@fraserlawfirm.com.