Gay marriage catches conservative Utah off guard

By By MICHELLE L. PRICE

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A day after a judge's surprise ruling overturned Utah's same-sex marriage ban, at least one county clerk intended to open early Saturday to issue licenses.

A couple hundred people showed up at the Weber County Clerk's Office but were later turned away because of security concerns.

Clerk Ricky Hatch issued a letter of apology and said he was also told it would violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection if he opened for special circumstances.

More than 100 same-sex couples rushed to wed in Salt Lake County after the ruling Friday.

Utah officials slammed the ruling and scrambled to seek an emergency stay to halt licenses from being issued.

It's unclear if and when a judge would grant the stay.

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