The Obama administration announced yesterday that the federal government would recognize the 1300 same-sex marriages performed in Utah before the Supreme Court issued a stay.
The New York Times reports:
The statement also provided a new twist in a fight that has pitted notions of individual equality against the right of states to define marriage as a majority of their voters see fit. It added to legal confusion surrounding the status of couples who married in a brief window after a Federal District Court judge unexpectedly struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages last month, before the Supreme Court stayed the ruling on Monday, effectively shutting down any further same-sex nuptials in the state for the duration of the litigation.
“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,” said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in an unusual video announcement on the Justice Department website. “These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds.”
In related news, Maryland’s Attorney General said the state will also recognize Utah’s new same-sex marriages.
The Washington Blade reports:
“Maryland will continue to recognize valid out-of-state same-sex marriages as we continue to strengthen the Constitution’s promise of equal protection under the law,” said Gansler. “It is an affront to the idea of basic human rights that the battle for full marriage equality in this country remains in headlines and courtrooms.” Gansler told the Washington Blade his office on Thursday received a call from a gay Maryland couple who married in Utah about whether the state would recognize their union.
Yesterday also saw a rally inside the Utah State Capitol building for marriage equality.
LGBTQ Nation reports:
Just hours after the Obama administration said it would recognize the 1,300 same-sex marriages in Utah, hundreds of marriage equality supporters gathered inside the state Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday calling on Republican Gov. Gary Herbert to do the same. And for the same-sex couples who have lived through a wave of emotions, the show of support from the federal government provided validation and turned the rally into a raucous celebration.
Now we wait for the 10th circuit hearing on marriage equality in Utah.
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