Salt Lake City: Hundreds of gay couples were expected to hurry for marriage licenses in Utah on Monday before the state`s same-sex marriage ban returned to court.
A federal judge surprised one of the most conservative states in the US on Friday by ruling that the ban violates gay and lesbian couples` constitutional rights. More than 100 couples wed in the following hours as others cheered them on.
The same federal judge is set to consider a request from the state to block the weddings.
Also, acting state Attorney General Brian Tarbet filed an emergency request today with a federal appeals court for a temporary delay to stop marriage licenses from being issued.
The 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a similar request yesterday, and clerks were issuing the licenses to gay couples today.
Legal experts say that even if the judge grants a delay in the Friday ruling, the licenses that have already been issued will likely still be valid.
For now, Utah has joined California, New York and others to become the 18th state where same-sex couples can legally wed.
Utah is home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one of the leading forces behind California`s short-lived ban on same-sex marriage.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has said it stands by its support for "traditional marriage" and that it hopes a higher court validates its belief that marriage is between a man and woman.
Friday`s ruling brought an angry reaction from Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, who said he was disappointed in an "activist federal judge attempting to override the will of the people of Utah."