The Justice Department announced today that the Obama administration will recognize more than 1,300 same-sex marriages that were left in legal limbo in Utah after the state won an injunction to stop additional unions.
The move today by Attorney General Eric Holder directly and brazenly counters a decision by Mormon led state of Utah to not recognize the outcome of the state’s challenge of the federal court ruling.
Holder said in a videotaped statement that the Obama administration will recognize the marriages as they apply to federal matters.
“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,” Holder said
.“These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds. In the days ahead, we will continue to coordinate across the federal government to ensure the timely provision of every federal benefit to which Utah couples and couples throughout the country are entitled – regardless of whether they are in same-sex or opposite-sex marriages.”
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a devout Mormon put state recognition of same-sex marriages on hold Wednesday on advice from his attorney general, Sean Reyes. Neither Herbert nor Reyes had immediate comment on Holder’s announcement.
Same-sex couples in Utah and the LGBT community across the nation applaud the Justice Department’s move.