SALT LAKE CITY - A federal judge on Monday allowed gay marriage to continue in Utah, rejecting a request to put same-sex weddings on hold as the state appeals a decision that has sent couples flocking to county clerk offices for marriage licenses.
Judge Robert J. Shelby overturned Utah's ban on same-sex marriage Friday, ruling the voter-approved measure is a violation of gay couples' constitutional rights. The state then asked him to put a stop to the weddings, but he rejected the request.
Shelby's ruling is far from the end of the legal wrangling on the topic. The state quickly filed a request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to put gay marriage on hold, and that court could rule Tuesday. The same court, in Denver, likely will hear the full appeal of the case several months from now.
In the meantime, the rush on marriage licenses continues for gay couples around Utah.
Nearly 700 gay couples have obtained marriage licenses since Friday.
Even if the 10th Circuit grants a stay, the marriage licenses that already have been issued probably will remain valid, said Carl Tobias, a constitutional law professor at Virginia's University of Richmond who has tracked legal battles for gay marriage. It's not entirely certain, however, because Utah's situation has unfolded differently than other states, and there's no direct precedent, he said.