US recognizes Michigan same-sex couple marriages - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

US recognizes Michigan same-sex couple marriages

Posted: Updated:
Corey Ledin-Bristol, left, and Art Ledin-Bristol smile during their wedding ceremony at the Harbor Unitarian Universalist church in Muskegon, Mich., on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Corey Ledin-Bristol, left, and Art Ledin-Bristol smile during their wedding ceremony at the Harbor Unitarian Universalist church in Muskegon, Mich., on Saturday, March 22, 2014.

DETROIT (AP) - 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 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.

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

DeMarco's reaction to Friday's federal recognition: "Cool."

"That's a major step," DeMarco said. "The federal government is making great strides with recognizing same-sex marriage. 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.

Snyder, a Republican, acknowledged 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.

Bill Freeman, pastor of Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation church in western Michigan's Muskegon, responded to Friday's news with a loud "Yeah!"

"I think it's great. I think it's wonderful. I think it's glorious," he said. "Even the governor of Michigan says the marriages are legal, but is not going to let them be enforceable in Michigan - and that's crazy.

"These guys ought to be able to get their Social Security cards and have the same benefits just like any other heterosexually married couple."

Freeman officiated dozen of weddings Saturday after marriage licenses were issued by the Muskegon County clerk's office.

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.

  • RegionalMore>>

  • Ohio announces second fine against company that feeds inmates

    Ohio announces second fine against company that feeds inmates

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:04 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:04:28 GMT
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state on Wednesday announced a second fine against the private vendor that took over the job of feeding inmates last year as the company defended its operations before a prisons oversight committee. The $130,200 fine against Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services covered continued staffing shortages, unacceptable food substitutions and shortages and sanitation issues, including maggots observed in food service operations at five prisons this month and last,...
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state on Wednesday announced a second fine against the private vendor that took over the job of feeding inmates last year as the company defended its operations before a prisons oversight committee. The $130,200 fine against Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services covered continued staffing shortages, unacceptable food substitutions and shortages and sanitation issues, including maggots observed in food service operations at five prisons this month and last,...
  • Members appointed to oversee international bridge construction

    Members appointed to oversee international bridge construction

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:45 PM EDT2014-07-31 01:45:13 GMT
    DETROIT (AP) - Michigan and Canada have appointed members of an authority to oversee construction of a $2 billion public bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. Michigan's designees are Michael Hayes, Birgit Klohs and Matt Rizik. Hayes leads the Midland Center for the Arts. Klohs heads The Right Place, a western Michigan economic development organization. Rizik is with Rock Ventures, the umbrella entity for Dan Gilbert's investments. Canada's members are Kristine Burr and Genevieve Gagno...
    DETROIT (AP) - Michigan and Canada have appointed members of an authority to oversee construction of a $2 billion public bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. Michigan's designees are Michael Hayes, Birgit Klohs and Matt Rizik. Hayes leads the Midland Center for the Arts. Klohs heads The Right Place, a western Michigan economic development organization. Rizik is with Rock Ventures, the umbrella entity for Dan Gilbert's investments. Canada's members are Kristine Burr and Genevieve Gagno...
  • Report: Prison food problems real

    Report: Prison food problems real

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 4:04 PM EDT2014-07-30 20:04:37 GMT
    The director of a state prisons oversight committee says there appears to be legitimate concerns about the job a private vendor is doing feeding Ohio inmates.
    The director of a state prisons oversight committee says there appears to be legitimate concerns about the job a private vendor is doing feeding Ohio inmates.
  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Debris falls from overpass

    Debris falls from overpass

     

  • Horse euthanized; Cruelty investigation underway in Lucas Co.

    Horse euthanized; Cruelty investigation underway in Lucas Co.

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:10 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:10:33 GMT
    A horse has been euthanized after it was found injured on the ground at a home off Crissey Road.Now, the Toledo Area Humane Society has launched and animal cruelty investigation.Cruelty officers came out to the home around noon on Wednesday. They found a horse that was very thin and had gashes all over its body.The situation was so dire, the officer called a vet to treat the horse, but there was nothing they could do. The horse was euthanized behind the home."The horse couldn't even get up on...
    A horse has been euthanized after it was found injured on the ground at a home off Crissey Road.Now, the Toledo Area Humane Society has launched and animal cruelty investigation.Cruelty officers came out to the home around noon on Wednesday. They found a horse that was very thin and had gashes all over its body.The situation was so dire, the officer called a vet to treat the horse, but there was nothing they could do. The horse was euthanized behind the home."The horse couldn't even get up on...
  • Point Place neighbors get lesson on crime & prevention

    Point Place neighbors get lesson on crime & prevention

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:54:06 GMT
    It's a homeowner's worst nightmare. Back in March, Raymond Musialowski says he arrived at his house to find his patio door open. He credits his dog as the reason nothing was stolen. Like many Point Place residents, he came out Wednesday night because he worries about increased crime."There's more break-ins in the neighborhood, problems with drugs, people are doing the wrong things," says Musialowski. "People need to take back their neighborhoods. And taking back your neighborhoods means you n...
    It's a homeowner's worst nightmare. Back in March, Raymond Musialowski says he arrived at his house to find his patio door open. He credits his dog as the reason nothing was stolen. Like many Point Place residents, he came out Wednesday night because he worries about increased crime."There's more break-ins in the neighborhood, problems with drugs, people are doing the wrong things," says Musialowski. "People need to take back their neighborhoods. And taking back your neighborhoods means you n...

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!