Utah: Judge Rules Gay Marriages in Utah Can Continue

Utah's attempt to halt same-sex marriages is thwarted.

Ruth Hackford-Peer and Kim Hackford-Peer are married by Rev. Curtis Price while hugging their two children in the lobby of the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, in Salt Lake City.
By SHARE

The same judge who overturned Utah's ban on same-sex marriage last week has denied the state's request to temporarily block the unions until an appeals process determines the state's final stance.

State attorneys argued that a temporary ban on same-sex marriage was needed while they appealed Judge Richard Shelby's ruling that made gay marriage legal. The attorneys said couples could suffer "irreparable harm" if they marry and the decision later is overturned.

But Shelby denied the request, allowing gay couples who have been flocking to courthouses since the decision was announced Friday to continue to be wed. Reuters reported about 900 couples were outside the county clerk's office in Salt Lake City early Monday morning, waiting to receive marriage licenses.

[READ: New Mexico Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage]

"It's like Black Friday for gay people," MickieVee Cochrane told The Salt Lake Tribune Sunday, after the original court decision was made.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists across the country celebrated the court's rulings.

"We're thrilled that this decision continues the process of decisions across the country that support the right of gay and lesbian couples to get married and have their love and families protected equally under the law," said Brian Silva, executive director of Marriage Equality, according to USA Today.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, said in a statement that he was "very disappointed an activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the people of Utah."

[ALSO: Hawaii to Become 15rh State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage]

Utah is known as one of the most conservative states in the nation and is the headquarters for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was one of the leading proponents of California's brief ban on same-sex marriage, NBC News reports.

"We continue to believe that voters in Utah did the right thing by providing clear direction in the state constitution that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and we are hopeful that this view will be validated by a higher court," the church said in a statement.

More News: