Attorney General Eric Holder is being urged to recognize the marriages of nearly 2,000 gay and lesbian couples performed in three states.

Over 50 groups on Friday sent a letter calling on Holder to recognize the marriages which took place in Indiana, Wisconsin and Arkansas after state and federal judges struck down bans which limit marriage to heterosexual unions. In cases challenging bans in Indiana and Arkansas, the judges refused to stay their orders, while in Wisconsin a federal judge's preliminary order declaring the state's ban invalid set off a rush to the alter. Wedding bells ended after the rulings were stayed pending appeals.

“There is no legal reason to question the validity of these nearly 2,000 marriages,” said the Respect for Marriage Coalition, whose members include Freedom to Marry, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the ACLU. “Each was legally performed by a clerk representing the states of Arkansas, Indiana and Wisconsin, in accordance with each state's status and constitution and by judicial order. There is simply no reason for the federal government not to respect these couple's marriages and extend federal benefits.”

Holder has granted recognition to gay couples who married under similar circumstances in Utah and Michigan.

“Recently, the Department helped to ensure that same-sex couples married in Michigan and Utah were also granted federal benefits and protections. Now, married couples in Arkansas, Indiana and Wisconsin need you to act,” the letter states.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, said in a statement that “married couples should be treated as what they are – married – fully able to share in the federal protections and responsibilities afforded other married couples.”

“The Respect for Marriage Coalition urges Attorney General Holder to apply that standard in these states as he has in others,” Wolfson said.