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October 20, 2014

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Michigan won’t recognize same-sex marriages

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan won't recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed last weekend before a court halted a decision that opened the door to gay nuptials, Gov. Rick Snyder said Wednesday.

The announcement came a day after an appeals court indefinitely stopped any additional same-sex marriages while it reviews a decision that struck down a 2004 law that says marriage only is between a man and a woman.

Snyder's move closes the door to certain benefits reserved solely for married couples. The American Civil Liberties Union said more than 1,000 Michigan laws are tied to marriage.

Four counties took the extraordinary step of granting licenses Saturday before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a temporary halt. The stay was extended indefinitely Tuesday.

The governor said Wednesday that the marriages were legal at the time but the stay means the ban now is back in effect.

Snyder, a Republican who keeps mostly silent on social issues, had said very little since U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman made his historic decision Friday. Snyder said he supported marriage as "between a man and a woman" in a 2010 debate.

Another Republican, Attorney General Bill Schuette, has aggressively defended the gay marriage ban, which was approved by 59 percent of voters. He said it's his job to oppose challenges to the state constitution.

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