Couples Flood Utah County Clerk Offices After Gay Marriage Ruling

As state files emergency stay and appeals to 10th Circuit Court

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(L to R) Raylynn Marvel, Patsy Carter, Loreen Major, and Arlene Arnold wait in the offices of the Utah County Clerk and Auditor to learn if they will be issued a marriage license as a lesbian couple on July 20, 2013 in Provo, Utah

Hundreds of gay couples descended on country clerk offices across Utah to obtain marriage licenses following the landmark federal ruling that struck down the state’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

Among the first to wed were state Sen. Jim Dabakis, chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, and his partner Stephen Justesen, the Associated Press reports. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled Friday that the ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, marking the first federal decision addressing whether states can refuse to recognize same-sex marriage following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act in June.

The typically conservative state, which is home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, filed an appeal of the ruling and an emergency stay to prevent the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples just hours after the ruling, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. It is unclear when the judge will make a decision over the stay.

The push for gay marriage also landed a victory in New Mexico this week, where the highest court declared it unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.