U.S. Supreme Court puts hold on same sex marriages in Utah

U.S. Supreme Court puts hold on same sex marriages in Utah

CREATED Jan 6, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah officials are praising a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to put a hold on gay marriage in the state.

Gov. Gary Herbert says the stay should have been granted earlier to avoid uncertainty. Two previous courts turned down the state's request for a stay.

Gays had been allowed to marry in Utah for 17 days and more than 900 gay and lesbian couples have married since then.

A lawyer for couples who sued to overturn Utah's ban on gay marriage calls the Supreme Court order disappointing. James Magleby says "same-sex couples and their children are being harmed by not being able to marry and be treated equally." But he says he remains confident in the case his side will put before the appellate court.

The justices did not rule on the merits of the case or on same-sex marriage bans in general. The decision stays in effect while the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers the long-term question of whether Utah's ban on same-sex marriage violates gay and lesbian couples' constitutional rights.