Judge Rejects Utah’s Attempt To Block Gay Marriage

State trying to put Friday's gay marriage decision on hold

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UPDATE: 1:40 p.m.

A federal judge ruled Monday that gay marriages in Utah can continue while the state appeals his Friday ruling that its ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The state had attempted to put the ruling on hold while they appealedĀ U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby’s decision, but he denied its request. Lawyers tried to block gay couples from marrying pending the results of the appeal case.

Same-sex couples around the state celebrated Shelby’s surprise ruling Friday that that Utah’s law against gay marriage violates the 14th Amendment. More than 100 gay couples rushed to the county clerk’s office in Salt Lake City to get marriage licenses, and hundreds more were expected to show up Monday morning to get their marriage licenses before they knew that Shelby’s ruling would stand.

Shelby’s ruling was considered a surprise in Utah, one of the most conservative states in the nation. Utah is home to the Mormon church, which provided much of the firepower behind California’s short-lived ban on same-sex marriage. Republican Gov. Gary Herbert expressed dismay at the ruling, saying, calling Shelby an “activist federal judge attempting to override the will of the people of Utah.”