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Federal Government Should Accept Utah Same-Sex Marriages, Human Rights Campaign Urges

"[T]here is simply no reason for the United States government not to extend federal recognition to these more than 1,300 couples," Human Rights Campaign head says.

Posted on January 9, 2014, at 1:49 p.m. ET

Jim Urquhart / Reuters

Jax Collins, left, and Heather Collins share a kiss after getting married at the Salt Lake County Government Building in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 23, 2013.

WASHINGTON — The nation's largest LGBT rights organization urged the Obama administration to recognize the marriages of the 1,360 same-sex couples who married in Utah over the past several weeks.

"There is no legal reason to question the validity of these more than 1,300 marriages. Each was legally performed by a clerk representing the State of Utah, in accordance with the state's statutes and constitution," Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday.

"Given this landscape of facts, there is simply no reason for the United States government not to extend federal recognition to these more than 1,300 couples."

The request comes a day after Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced that the state has put its own recognition of those marriages — granted by the state between Dec. 20, 2103, and Jan. 6 — "on hold" during the appeal of the case challenging the state's marriage amendment and in light of the Supreme Court's stay of the trial court order in the case pending that appeal.

The question of how the federal government will treat the marriages of the same-sex couples who married during that period remains up in the air. On Wednesday, a Justice Department spokesperson said the department was reviewing Herbert's decision.

Update at 4:30 p.m.: A Justice Department official confirmed receipt of the letter to BuzzFeed, but had no further comment at this time.

Read HRC's letter to Holder:

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.