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Michigan governor affirms same-sex marriages are legal but suspends benefits

Governor Rick Snyder announced today the same-sex marriages performed in the offices of county clerks last Saturday prior to the issuance of a stay order. In the official proclamation Snyder says the marriages were legal but the state has suspended the benefits of marriage until the legal process is completed.

Same-sex couples line up to get marriage licenses at the Oakland County Courthouse on March 22, 2014 in Pontiac, Michigan. A Federal judge overturned Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage on Friday, March 21, 2014.
Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

“After comprehensive legal review of state law and all recent court rulings, we have concluded that same-sex couples were legally married,” said Snyder in a statement this afternoon. Read the entire governor’s official announcement here.

The benefits are being suspended because the stay issued by the 6th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals restored Michigan law as it was prior to the decision of U.S. District Judge Friedman last Friday afternoon according to Snyder.

Last Friday’s ruling by Friedman resulted in County Clerk offices around the state to open Saturday to accommodate the demand for licenses. Most marriages were performed at the time of application. The appellate court’s emergency ruling late Saturday morning put a halt to additional licenses, even for those waiting in line. Yesterday the appeals court voted two to one to extend the stay as reported by Associated Press.

“The couples with certificates of marriage from Michigan courthouses last Saturday were legally married and the marriage was valid when entered into,” said Snyder indicating no attempt to void the marriages as reported by Associated Press.

The state has already placed on notice that 2013 taxes must file as “single” as the state will not accept “Married” filings, either as joint or separate. (Read the state’s position on taxes by clicking here). This decision does not have an impact on Saturday’s marriages but does apply to people in same-sex marriages performed in other states for those that resided in or have earned income in the state.

Snyder is currently running for a second term in the general election to be held in November, 2014.

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