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Gay marriages march on in Utah, for now

Judge denies request by state to halt ceremonies pending an appeal of his ruling declaring ban unconstitutional
Judge Robert_Shelby

The federal judge who overturned Utah's gay marriage ban on Monday (23 December) rejected the state government's request that the marriages be halted pending an appeal.

Judge Robert J. Shelby's decisions have resulted in hundreds of couples flocking to county courthouses to obtain licenses to get married. Couples began getting married on Friday (20 December) shortly after Shelby's ruling.

While the mood has been jubilant, there is still uncertainty in the air.

The state is still trying to stop the marriages and has filed a request with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. That court, which would hear a full appeal down the road, had denied an emergency request for a stay on Sunday (22 December) stating that Shelby had to make a ruling first.

The Denver court is now able to rule on the state request for a stay any time now.

Adam Blatter and Joseph Chavez were among those who began lining up at the Salt Lake County clerk's office Sunday (22 December) evening hoping to get married before they could be stopped by any possible legal ruling.

'We expected Utah to be the last place we could get married,' Blatter told the Associated Press.

With marriage equality in Utah for now, 18 US states plus the District of Columbia currently allow gay marriages.

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