WASHINGTON - The Obama administration will recognize same-sex marriages performed in Utah and will provide federal benefits to the roughly 1,400 gay couples who were married there before the US Supreme Court halted such nuptials on Monday, US Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday.

"These marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages," Holder said in a statement. "These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds."

Utah's governor, Republican Gary Herbert, announced on Wednesday that the state would not recognize, at least for now, the marriages of gay couples who rushed to wed after a federal judge's ruling last month briefly allowed such marriages.

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