The federal government will recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in Utah during a brief period in which same-sex marriages were allowed, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday.
“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 in a video statement.
On Dec. 20, federal District Judge Robert Shelby struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages. Monday, the Supreme Court halted new same-sex marriages pending Utah’s appeal of Shelby’s decision. Between Dec. 20 and Monday, hundreds of same-sex marriages were performed.
Wednesday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s office announced that recognition of the same-sex marriages performed during the short window would also be on hold pending the appeal.
Friday, however, the federal government said it would be recognizing them.
“These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds,” Holder said. “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 in same-sex or opposite-sex marriages,” Holder said in the video. “And we will continue to provide additional information as soon as it becomes available.”