Salt Lake City: Hundreds of gay couples were expected to hurry for marriage licenses in Utah on Monday morning before the state's same-sex marriage ban returned to court.
A federal judge surprised one of the most conservative states in the U.S. 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.
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 same federal judge on Monday is set to consider a request from the state of Utah to block gay weddings. Lawyers for the state want Friday's ruling put on hold as they appeal the decision.
Legal experts say that even if the judge grants a delay in his 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.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Friday that 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."
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Updated Date: Dec 23, 2013 19:41:17 IST