The Republican governor announced Wednesday that he won't appeal a ruling that the state must recognize the marriages. U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith had said the marriages are valid but put on hold his decision for 21 days pending any appeal.
"The judge has determined that same-sex couples were legally married on that day, and we will follow the law and extend state marriage benefits to those couples," said the governor in a statement. "I appreciate that the larger question will be addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court this year. This is an issue that has been divisive across our country. Our nation's highest court will decide this issue. I know there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, and it's vitally important for an expedient resolution that will allow people in Michigan, as well as other states, to move forward together on the other challenges we face."
Michigan's recognition of the marriages could affect couples' health insurance coverage and their ability to jointly adopt.
A different federal judge struck down Michigan's gay marriage ban last March. Same-sex couples in four counties married the next day, before an appeals court suspended the decision and blocked additional marriages.
The U.S. Supreme Court has since decided to consider the legality of Michigan's 2004 voter-approved ban.
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