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Utah Seeks To Block Benefits To Married Same-Sex Couples

Utah's attorney general says he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to block a lower court ruling that same-sex couples must receive benefits following the overturning of the state's gay marriage ban.

In a statement issued late Friday, Attorney General Sean Reyes says the appeal will be filed in the coming weeks, to get "clarity and resolution" on the matter.

NPR's Howard Berkes, reporting from Salt Lake City, says Reyes' statement comes after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Utah must recognize spousal rights for married same-sex couples when it comes to adoptions, child custody cases and medical decisions. The circuit court, which issued a stay on benefits in May, has declined to renew it past its expiration on July 21.

The Associated Press says: "This case is separate from the ongoing judicial review of the constitutionality of the state's same-sex marriage ban. The 10th Circuit recently upheld a December opinion from a federal judge in Utah who overturned the ban. Utah state officials plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court."

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to offer federal recognition to gay couples in Indiana who wed before a federal appeals court stayed an order striking down the state's gay marriage ban.

The AP says the ACLU letter asks Holder:

"to issue a statement that the federal government will recognize the marriages as he did in Utah and Michigan, which would make Indiana's couples eligible for federal benefits for married couples."

"The ACLU's move comes the same week that Gov. Mike Pence's office said the state wouldn't recognize the same marriages."

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