U.S. recognizes Michigan same-sex marriages

Federal recognition extended to the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples that took place in Michigan before a federal appeals court put those unions on hold
Associated Press
Mar 28, 2014


Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday extended federal recognition to the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples that took place in Michigan before a federal appeals court put those unions on hold.

Holder's action will enable the government to extend eligibility for federal benefits to the Michigan couples who married Saturday, which means they can file federal taxes jointly, get Social Security benefits for spouses and request legal immigration status for partners, among other benefits.

The attorney general said the families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their benefits while courts decide the issue of same-sex marriage in Michigan. Holder did the same thing in Utah, where more than 1,000 same-sex couples got married before the U.S. Supreme Court put those unions on hold in January after a federal judge overturned the conservative state's same-sex marriage ban in December.

Holder's decision came a week after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman in Detroit struck down the gay marriage ban and two days after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder called last weekend's marriages legal but said Michigan won't recognize them.

Snyder told reporters following an unrelated bill signing in Lansing that Holder's actions weren't a surprise "because of the situation in Utah and the position he took there."

However, it does "create more complexity," Snyder said. "... I'm sure we'll get a number of questions that we'll need to sort out about between the interrelationship of state and federal law."

Michigan needs to recognize that times are changing, said Donna DeMarco, whose reaction to Friday's federal recognition was: "Cool."

DeMarco and Lisa Ulrey were among the dozens of couples who married Saturday in Oakland County, northwest of Detroit.

"The federal government is making great strides with recognizing same-sex marriage," DeMarco said. "It's time for Michigan to get out of its prehistoric age and get with the times. When you have a state government that's full of hate and straddles political lines and doesn't recognize that people are people, it affects a lot of people."

DeMarco said she and Ulrey have not yet applied for joint Social Security benefits.

"I guess we can now," she said, adding that the couple will jointly file federal taxes next year.

Oakland County was one of four that took the extraordinary step of granting licenses Saturday just hours before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ordered a temporary halt. The stay was extended indefinitely Tuesday.

The federal appeals court acted on a request from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who defended Michigan's same-sex marriage ban.

Friedman's ruling came in a federal lawsuit filed in 2012 by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, two Detroit-area nurses who are raising three children with special needs. DeBoer and Rowse have said they sued because they were barred from jointly adopting each other's children. Joint adoption is reserved for married heterosexual couples in Michigan.

"I think it's spectacular that our federal government has chosen to acknowledge the validity of these marriages, and accord the respect and dignity these couples and their families deserve," said attorney Dana Nessel, who represented DeBoer and Rowse.

Snyder, a Republican, acknowledged Wednesday that same-sex couples "had a legal marriage." But because of the court's stay, he added, the gay marriage ban has been restored. That closed the door, at least for now, to certain state benefits reserved solely for married couples. The American Civil Liberties Union has said more than 1,000 Michigan laws are tied to marriage.

Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., issue licenses for same-sex marriages. Since December, bans on gay marriage also have been overturned by courts in Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Virginia, but appeals have put those cases on hold.

Matthew Barraza and Tony Milner are part of an ACLU lawsuit challenging Utah's decision to stop granting benefits for newly married same-sex couples. Only Barraza is legally recognized as a parent to their 4-year-old son, Jesse.

"Heaven forbid if something should happen to one us, Jesse would have the security of having the other parent take care of him," Milner said after the suit was filed. "Now, because of the state's refusal to recognize our marriage, this peace of mind is once again out of reach."


thinkagain's picture

The will of the people…trashed by yet another liberal federal judge.


The will of people with a conscience, and an end to discrimination, thanks to a liberal federal judge.


What Eric Holder did was illegal. He has no authority to circumvent a federal court. He is charged with upholding federal law. Throw him in jail for contempt of court.


Another one of Obama's czar's side-stepping the Constitution and the will of the people to push their own corrupt agendas. Looks like socialist Naziism to me. America, wake up, history IS repeating itself.


What?!? This is NO different than the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960's. America decided that we weren't going to discriminate against blacks, simply because they were black. In 2014, this judge said that we shouldn't discriminate against gays simply because they're gay.

Nazis discriminated against Jews and other minorities, then killed 6 million of them. The judge in this same sex issue is doing the exact opposite: he is trying to help others enjoy the same freedoms and equality that WE enjoy. i.e. he wants to HELP those people. Do you see the difference?

You are right about one thing: history IS repeating itself. The racist people of the 1960's have apparently taught their children to be the racists of 2014. Your parents must be very proud...


Thinkagain...is is obvious by your posts you are a hater!!! May god bless your soul...LMAO!!!!


Love hearing are the bigots uneducated comments. :) comedic value!!!


I really doubt God is going to be blessing any Homos !How about The Congressman that wants to marry his sheep ? These Liberals are the biggest Hypocrites aver born. They go to church every Sunday and hold Public Office in The Baby Killer Anti God Party just like The Nazi's ! Kerry, Biden, Pelosi they should all be excommunicated !


This current crop of Republican politicians and voters are the biggest group of Godless hypocrites I have seen in my lifetime. They deprive the poor (cut food stamps), deny medical coverage (states that are not enacting expanded Midicare), kill their fellow man (death penalty supporters), warmongers (look at Iraq and the recent uproar to use force against Russia), deny basic human rights (women's and gay rights, let alone the rights of non-Christians) and then hide behind the cloth of God.

And just for clarification, a developing fetus is not a baby, but all of those kids and young adults that are dying at the hands of "stand your ground" laws are genuine people.

You should be ashamed.


Boy, are you out of touch. A live abortion by stabbing in the neck with scissors or putting into a chemical vat is a murder. Your DNC had to vote 3 times to put God In your platform and then booed when they finally did ! One of your delegates said in an interview, "We are The Party of The people and all are Welcome as long as you are not a Gun Totin Christian " Sounds like The Nazi party to me. You should ask God for forgiveness for even belonging to such a Anti Christian Party !I bet you go sing in church every Sunday !


I thought God didn't discriminate. I was taught that he gave absolution to anyone who asked for forgiveness. There is enough hypocrisy to go around, and plenty of it can be found in the Conservative Religious Right.

It just cracks me up how the rightwingnuts throw the word Nazi around every other sentence. From where I'm sitting, we Liberals are open-minded and accepting of every lifestyle, while those on the Right basically hate/discriminate against anyone who isn't just like them.


So opened minded your President Clinton signed DOMA. Yeah get a clue, The democrats have descriminated against EVERY single minority all throughout history. Even though you try at every turn to spread it around to avoid blame Your hypocrisy is still way more than anyone should have.
Not very open minded when you believe everyone is wrong except yourself.


Coaster, You evidently know nothing about history. The path you are taking is the same Hitler took in 1933. In fact Bozo's resume is identical to Hitler's !The bible does, it is very clear on the rights and wrongs. Jesus threw the peddlers out of The Temple, must not have been a Casino. You speak of God then you must read his book !


UK, I got my degree in The Military during war time. Where did you get yours ?


Coaster, thank you. I was also taught that God gives forgiveness to those who ask for it, I was also taught that NO ONE has the right to judge anyone else. Hypocrites.

Dr. Information

Says the persons who just judged everyone else who didn't agree. Thats the definition of a hypocrite.