US & Canada

Michigan governor will not recognise same-sex marriages

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appeared in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on 18 March 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has said his is a "reasonable legal position" considering the status of the case in the federal courts

The governor of the US state of Michigan has said it will not recognise more than 300 gay marriages performed after a judge struck down a ban.

Four counties granted marriage licences to same-sex couples after a federal court threw out a ban on Friday.

But on Tuesday an appellate court stayed the ruling tossing the voter-approved ban, pending an appeal.

Rick Snyder, a Republican, said the marriages were "legal" but the gay marriage ban had been restored.

"We did our own homework and I believe this is a reasonable legal position to take based on the available literature and law," Mr Snyder told reporters on Wednesday.

Other politicians are said to be urging US President Barack Obama's administration to recognise the marriages at the federal level, but the US justice department has not yet commented on the matter.

Michigan voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage in 2004. But on Friday, a federal judge struck it down after two Detroit-area nurses argued that the ban violated their guarantees under the US constitution to equal protection under the law.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, also a Republican, promptly moved for an appeal, and on Tuesday, a federal appeals court reinstated the ban indefinitely as it weighed the state's appeal.

Bans on gay marriage have been ruled unconstitutional in recent months in Texas, Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, though the rulings have been put on hold pending appeals.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia currently issue licences for same-sex marriage.

Analysts say the matter will eventually be decided by the US Supreme Court.

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