Two days ago, we brought you news from Utah where Governor Gary Herbert had declared that all same-sex marriages which had taken place would be considered null and avoid unless or until the Federal stay was lifted.
While most people assumed the Governor would prohibit state agencies from issuing marriage licenses while the new ban was filtering through the federal appellate courts, most did not believe that he would nullify the legal marriages that had already occurred.
Today, the Obama Administration cleared that little bit of confusion up for us when a video was released featuring Attorney General Eric Holder. In the video, Holder explains that all marriages performed between the days when the ban was lifted and when the Federal Supreme Court issued the stay would be considered legal and valid.
A full transcript of Holder’s speech is below.
Last June, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision – in United States v. Windsor – holding that Americans in same-sex marriages are entitled to equal protection and equal treatment under the law. This ruling marked a historic step toward equality for all American families. And since the day it was handed down, the Department of Justice has been working tirelessly to implement it in both letter and spirit – moving to extend federal benefits to married same-sex couples as swiftly and smoothly as possible.
Recently, an administrative step by the Court has cast doubt on same-sex marriages that have been performed in the state of Utah. And the governor has announced that the state will not recognize these marriages pending additional Court action.
In the meantime, 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. 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. And we will continue to provide additional information as soon as it becomes available.
You can also head over to Buzzfeed and watch Holder’s official statement.