Gay couples marry in Utah, as judge refuses to put the weddings on hold

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Same-sex couples have been getting married, one every few minutes, in the lobby of the Salt Lake County clerk's office today.

And they were elated at the news that a federal judge wouldn't be blocking those weddings from taking place.

Judge Robert Shelby, who overturned Utah's ban on same-sex marriage Friday, today allowed the weddings to continue -- rejecting a request to put them on hold while the state appeals his decision.

But that isn't the end of the legal wrangling. The state quickly filed a request with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and that court could rule as soon as this evening or tomorrow. The same court, in Denver, is likely to 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.

One man said he and his partner were in a panic to get married this morning before the judge could stop the issuance of licenses. Adam Blatter said, "We expected Utah to be the last place we could get married."

A constitutional law professor says that even if the federal appeals court grants a stay, the marriage licenses that have already been issued will probably remain valid.

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184-c-17-(Brady McCombs, AP correspondent)-"hear the case"-AP correspondent Brady McCombs reports Utah officials still hope the voter-approved ban on gay marriage will eventually be upheld. (23 Dec 2013)

<<CUT *184 (12/23/13)££ 00:17 "hear the case"

183-c-14-(Brady McCombs, AP correspondent)-"getting marriage licenses"-AP correspondent Brady McCombs reports the ruling got a jubilant reaction from people wanting to marry their same-sex partners. (23 Dec 2013)

<<CUT *183 (12/23/13)££ 00:14 "getting marriage licenses"

APPHOTO UTOGD114: Michelle Hansen, center, and Shannon Palmer, right are married in a hallway at the Hampton Inn in Ogden, Utah on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. Trevor Olsen and Wayne Elwood, right, record the brief ceremony just minutes after they were also married. Over 60 couples were married in a two hour window at the hotel on Monday morning ahead of concern that the ruling to allow same-sex marriage might be put on hold. (AP Photo/Standard-Examiner, Benjamin Zack) (23 Dec 2013)

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APPHOTO UTOGD112: Tim Sharp, left, and Gage Church apply for their marriage license at the Weber County Clerk's Office in Ogden on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. Sharp and Gage were the first gay couple to be legally married in Weber County. (AP Photo/Standard-Examiner, Benjamin Zack) (23 Dec 2013)

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