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Feds: Utah Same-Sex Couples Get Federal Benefits

Colin Hale |
January 10, 2014 | 1:02 p.m. PST

Executive Producer

The Obama administration announced Friday that the federal government would recognize same-sex marriages in Utah, despite the hold placed by the Supreme Court.

The decision by the federal government will allow for same-sex couples who were married between December 20, 2013 and January 6, 2014 to be eligible for federal benefits, including joint tax filing, Social Security benefits for spouses, and immigration services for spouses.

Utah's Republican conservative governor, Gary Herbert, has said that his state would not recognize the same-sex marriages issued in the state since the ban was overturned.

In a statement released Friday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the marriages "will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages."

Since a lower court overturned Utah's same-sex marriage ban last month, over 1,400 couples in Utah have received marriage certificates.  Utah has since appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has placed a temporary hold on same-sex marriages in the state while an appeals court hears the case.

Federal District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled in December that Utah's constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman violated the U.S. Constitution.

Read more about the U.S. Department of Justice's decision on Utah's same-sex marriages at the New York Times, NPR, and Chicago Tribune.

Reach Executive Producer Colin Hale here. Follow him on Twitter.



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