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Federal government will recognize same-sex marriages performed legally in Michigan

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Michigan state sealThe Washington Blade is reporting that the federal government will recognize same-sex marriages performed in Michigan for purposes of federal benefits. Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement:

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

The ACLU of Michigan is considering taking legal action to force statewide recognition of the marriages. The federal government’s decision to recognize the marriages, along with the state’s determination that they were performed legally (but won’t be recognized by the state until the appeal is over) will have an impact on any potential challenge.

As EqualityOnTrial has reported previously, state and federal officials and lawmakers have been calling for the federal government to take this step since the stay was issued. Two state officeholders wrote a letter to Attorney General Holder:

The Ingham County Clerk, Barb Byrum, and East Lansing’s mayor, Nathan Triplett, have sent a letter to United States Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to declare the 300 marriages legally valid for purposes of federal recognition.

And yesterday, the Washington Blade reported that Michigan’s congressional delegation took the same action.

The federal government has also recognized same-sex marriages legally performed in Utah.

The Michigan case, DeBoer v. Snyder, is on appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings

For more information on DeBoer v. Snyder from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here.


  • 1. Richard Weatherwax  |  March 28, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Most of us were expecting the Federal Government to recognize the marriages, but some politicians can be stubborn.

  • 2. Mike in Baltimore  |  March 28, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Isn't calling 'people' like 'Governor' Snyder stubborn giving them a form of complement?

  • 3. sfbob  |  March 28, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I certainly see your point.

    Snyder's stubbornly homophobic. Which to some folks is probably a virtue.

  • 4. ebohlman  |  March 29, 2014 at 11:50 am

    "rigid" is probably a better term. It's the difference between perseveration and perseverance.

  • 5. Rose  |  March 28, 2014 at 9:47 am

    It would be nice for the DOJ to get the wording right so that Veterans EVERYWHERE can add their legal spouses to the VA disabilities and paperwork!!!

  • 6. Ragavendran  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:39 am

    In Bostic, the Virginia appeal before the 4th Circuit, the Family Research Council filed an animus brief on Wednesday, which was promptly struck down as premature (but "without prejudice") by the Court. (It needs to be filed after the principal brief, which is due today by appellants Schaefer, Rainey, McQuigg.)

  • 7. W. Kevin Vicklund  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:45 am

    "animus brief"

    Hah! Great description.

  • 8. Rick O.  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Tee hee. Though since the arguments contained are old and off-the-shelf, I don't suppose it really matters much which day the tract is delivered. They could get bulk rates if they just shipped a copy off to every judge in the country today.

  • 9. davep  |  March 28, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    At this point they should just get one of their old briefs converted to a set of little refrigerator magnets and shuffle them around a bit to generate each new brief.

  • 10. Lymis  |  March 29, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Why? They're already pretty much in a Mad Libs format already, with handy blanks to fill in the case, principals, and state in question. Frankly, I'm surprised they even bother to fill those in at this point.

  • 11. Guest  |  March 29, 2014 at 12:57 am

    Thank you for providing a description of an easily legible document available to all. You're a real April O'Neil!!!

  • 12. Ragavendran  |  March 29, 2014 at 1:15 am

    I didn't get what you're saying, but you're welcome!

  • 13. RCChicago  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Anyone have any idea what transpired in Judge Barbara Crabb's Wisconson court yesterday?

  • 14. Ragavendran  |  March 28, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Nothing transpired. Yesterday's hearing (on the preliminary injunction motion) was canceled on March 12, since that motion was withdrawn following the Judge's advice that she would deny it anyway, because there is no point in granting it and immediately staying it. Following this, a motion for summary judgment was filed earlier this week, on March 24. Briefing on this motion is due to be completed by May 19, and there could be a hearing as soon as June, and a decision on this motion could render the trial scheduled for August 25 moot.

  • 15. RCChicago  |  March 31, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Thanks so much for answering my question so thoroughly.!

  • 16. bayareajohn  |  March 28, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Meanwhile, the FRC is welcoming back WORLD VISION INTERNATIONAL as they walk back their earlier decision to allow hiring of employees who are in same-sex marriages. The child-poverty-fighting organization had made the inclusive policy that caused a right-wing wig-out. So WORLD reneged on inclusiveness in favor of continued financial support from the Faithers.

  • 17. Eric  |  March 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Sometimes dogma is more important than helping the poor and needy.

  • 18. Dr. Z  |  March 28, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Only in the US. In Canada, World Vision is still hiring people in SSM.

  • 19. bayareajohn  |  March 28, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Don't tell Family Research Council, let them pay someone to research that for them…

  • 20. Background Gal  |  March 28, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    By the way, the comments at the WORLDMAG site on this are typical…. one person saying that "Jesus spoke against homosexual behavior, as well as other vices, from Genesis 1 through Revelation 22"… though I really couldn't locate any Jesus quotes AT ALL in Genesis, nor any of the Old Testament, and none in Revelation or many of of the New Testament books.

    Another quotes the one of the few Leviticus "abominations" she agrees with, undoubtedly while snacking on calamari and wearing wool over cotton, with a fresh haircut – all abominations, as are tattoos and piercings. But THOSE are subject to "interpretation", I get it.

  • 21. bayareajohn  |  March 28, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Actually, Jesus never said a word about homosexuality anywhere in the Bible.

    I read some of the comments too, including a number of them that said they were going to pull their child support contributions from World Vision, and many swearing that no one ever said they would do that. Selective attention is powerful.

    By the way, a really interesting Leviticus review is here:
    Keep the link handy if you are the type to want to wade into this when your holy relatives get on their high horse.

  • 22. ebohlman  |  March 29, 2014 at 11:56 am

    The mysterious word "raca" that Jesus warned against using as an epithet in Matthew 5:22 is thought by some to have had homophobic overtones.

  • 23. bayareajohn  |  March 29, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Hard to stretch to that conclusion without pretty extreme projection and wishful thinking, but there's a lot of that around.

    Consensus and context seems to indicate RACA means "worthless" but here might more generally mean to insult verbally. Regardless, Jesus is saying there that calling your brother "RACA" should result in a public trial at a high court, thus whatever RACA is, CALLING SOMEONE RACA is a social and not spiritual offense. Nothing is said about any penalties for "being" RACA.

    The verse contrasts three "wrongs" with three "penalties". First is simple anger, which is an offense triable in lower court.. Calling RACA is the middle one, calling for trial at high court.. The third level, calling "FOOL" (taken by some translations as CURSING, compared to insulting) calls for "hellfire". This seems like Jesus is explaining when a civil wrong (libel, slander) becomes a damning sin. Even if RACA is actually parallel to "fag", it's defined by Jesus as an illegal insult that the speaker should be tried at a high court for saying. Certainly not a reproach of the alleged RACA being insulted. In fact, it would be more of a chastisement OF THE HOMOPHOBIC who use the word as an insult.

    The New American Standard Bible phrases it as "You good-for-nothing":
    "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell."

  • 24. Dr. Z  |  March 29, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Jesus also spoke against homosexuality in those articles under His byline for the National Enquirer. At the time He was employing a Holy Ghostwriter, which is why they were relegated in Vol. II of the Apocrypta along with The Last Supper Diet, the Holy Horoscope of Antioch, and His exclusive interview with Mary Magdalen discussing her new line of maternity ware.

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