After a federal judge struck down Utah's gay marriage ban last month, 1,300 same-sex couples rushed to the altar. But the chance to marry didn't last long, as the Supreme Court issued a stay preventing any more gay marriages until the full legal battle could play out. That meant the couples who already married were left in limbo: would their marriages count? The answer is yes, in the eyes of the Obama administration. And no, as far as Utah's governor is concerned.
Utah Gov. Gary R. Herber announced on Wednesday that he would not recognize the gay marriages until the appeal was finished, a sure disappointment for those couples. But then today, Attorney General Eric Holder gave the newlyweds something to smile about. In a video, he said: "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." That means those 1,300 couples will be able to file joint federal income taxes, have access to Social Security benefits if a spouse dies, be able to sponsor a spouse for a family visa, and more. Watch Holder make the announcement in this video.