Gov.: Mich. won’t yet recognize gay marriages

Renecia (left) and Kristen (right) Hall are married in Muskegon. (Courtesy photo - March 22, 2014)

DETROIT (AP/WOOD) — The Michigan governor’s office says state agencies won’t immediately recognize hundreds of same-sex marriages that were performed in the hours before an appeals court put on hold a judge’s ruling that tossed out a state ban on gay marriage.

Spokeswoman Sara Wurfel told The Associated Press on Sunday that Gov. Rick Snyder considers the issue moot until the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati decides whether to extend the hold on the ruling. That’s expected no sooner than Wednesday.

The appeals court Saturday issued the temporary stay of a Detroit federal judge’s Friday ruling throwing out Michigan’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.

About 300 couples wed Saturday in four Michigan counties before the appeals court’s action. Kristen and Renecia Hall were one of the first same-sex couples to get married Saturday at Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Muskegon.

It wasn’t their dream wedding, but it was a dream come true.

“I always wanted to be married and live the ‘American Dream,” Renecia Hall said. “And I was never afforded that opportunity.”

“I don’t want to leave Michigan because I want to marry her,” Kristen Hall said. “I want to live wherever I need to live and this is my home and this is her home.”

The marriage is recognized at the federal level, but not at the state level, meaning they don’t have rights to spousal benefits and adoption.

The Halls are now waiting to see what happens next. It could be years before the issue is finally settled.

Similar cases are pending in other states:  Federal judges in Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Virginia have overturned bans on same-sex marriage, but all of those decisions were stayed as the cases were appealed.

Meanwhile, 17 states have some sort provision allowing same-sex marriage, some of which are currently being heard in federal appellate courts. Pending the outcome of the appeal here, Michigan would become the eighteenth.

24 Hour News 8’s Heather Walker contributed to this story.

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