Michigan governor refuses to recognize same-sex marriages performed in state

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Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder

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 announced today.

The announcement came a day after an appeals court indefinitely stopped any additional same-sex marriages, The Associated Press reported. It will likely take months for the court to make its own judgment about whether a Michigan constitutional amendment that says marriage only is between a man and a woman violates the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down ban on same-sex marriages on Friday, March 21.

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 on Tuesday.

Snyder acknowledged same-sex couples "had a legal marriage,” but stressed that the court had essentially restored the ban, at least for the time being.

Snyder’s move closed the door to about 1,000 benefits reserved solely for married Michigan couples.

Pro-equality leaders have urged the Obama administration to recognize the marriages for federal benefits. The U.S. Justice Department did not immediately comment after Snyder's announcement.

Dana Nessel, an attorney for two Detroit-area nurses who successfully challenged the gay marriage ban, said Snyder's position is "really an outrage."

"I think each one of those couples should be furious right now, and I'm very hopeful that those couples will petition the court on their own behalf," Nessel said.

Snyder, a Republican who keeps mostly silent on social issues, had said very little since Friedman made his historic decision last week. Snyder said in a 2010 debate that he supported marriage as "between a man and a woman."

Another Republican, Attorney General Bill Schuette, has aggressively defended the gay marriage ban, which was approved by 59 percent.