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Lawmakers ask Holder to recognize Michigan’s same-sex newlyweds

Thursday, March 27, 2014
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Jake May, The Flint Journal (AP)Supporters hold up a banner during a pro-gay marriage rally held by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Flint on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, outside of the Genesee County Courthouse in Flint, Mich.

Jake May, The Flint Journal (AP)
Supporters hold up a banner during a pro-gay marriage rally held by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Flint on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, outside of the Genesee County Courthouse in Flint, Mich.

DETROIT — Six Democrats in Michigan’s congressional delegation said they asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday to recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed in the state last weekend.

The marriages were completed before an appeals court suspended a decision that overturned Michigan’s ban on gay marriage. The lawmakers want the government to treat the same-sex couples as legally married for the purpose of qualifying for federal benefits.

“This is about Michigan families. … Their government ought to be behind them,” U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, told reporters.

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The letter to Holder was sent a day after Gov. Rick Snyder said Michigan won’t recognize the marriages for state benefits while a stay is in place and the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals considers an appeal from the state attorney general. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman had struck down the state’s 2004 ban on gay marriage last week.

In January, Holder said the government would honor same-sex marriages in Utah in a case very similar to Michigan’s. The U.S. Justice Department so far has said it’s monitoring the situation in Michigan.

“Hopefully this won’t take long,” Kildee said.

The letter was signed by Kildee, Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, and Reps. John Dingell, Sander Levin and Gary Peters. Kildee said Republicans in the congressional delegation weren’t asked to sign the letter.

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