Governor Says Same-Sex Married Couples Benefits Are Suspended - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Governor Says Same-Sex Married Couples Benefits Are Suspended

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LANSING, MI(WLNS) - Under federal law, the322 gay and lesbian couples who married in Michigan on Sat., March 22, are legallymarried. However, due to a stay issued by the U.S. Circuit Court, benefits forsame-sex married couples are currently suspended.

"Rightstied to these marriages are suspended until the stay is lifted or JudgeFriedman's decision is upheld on appeal," said Governor Snyder in a newsrelease.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum opened her offices on Saturday and performed thefirst same-sex marriage in the state, and said she's disappointed in thegovernor's announcement. "These individuals are being treated as second-classcitizens. They're not being recognized by the state of Michigan," she said. "That's unconscionable."

One local same-sex couple who Byrum married said they're frustrated with the mostrecent decision, and just want the state to extend benefits to their legalmarriage. "It's very frustrating to follow the rules, and then the rules comeback against you," said Jean Baker.

OnTuesday, a federal appeals courtput an indefinite halt on gay marriage in Michigan whilethey review a federal judge's decision to overturn the ban set by voters backin 2004.

6News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick took a further look into the governor'sstand on this controversial issue.

Thegovernor was at an economic conference Wednesday, but reporters wanted toknow what he was doing about gay marriage.

TheGOP attorney general wants the courts to decide whether the married same sexcouples have legal rights.

Butapparently the governor is not content to wait for the courts to rule. He andhis legal team through the day were trying to figure out if these married samesex couples should have state benefits just as they have under federal law.

Thehouse democratic leader gives the governor credit for reviewing the issue, but,"he needs to do more than that, not just look at it. Whether Bill Schuettelikes it or not these couples were legally married on Saturday and the stateneeds to recognize these marriages," said Rep. Tim Greimel, HouseDemocratic Leader.

Butthose who oppose gay marriage want the courts to figure this out.

"Ibelieve the courts will make a decision and then each of us will follow thedictates of our own hearts," said State Representative Ken Kurtz (r),Coldwater.

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