Same-sex marriages can go on in Utah after a federal appeals court Tuesday denied the state's request to stop them pending an appeal of a judge's ruling legalizing them.
In a two-page order entered in 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Judges Robert E. Bacharach and Jerome A. Holmes declined to grant Gov. Gary Herbert's request for an emergency stay.
Herbert asked for a stay Monday after U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby upheld his own 2004 ruling that Utah's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.
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The appeals judges fast-tracked the appeal, but they said they wouldn't stop the marriages in the meantime, writing that Utah had a tough burden to prove that letting the marriages go ahead would cause "irreparable harm" and that Utah had a good shot at winning its appeal.
Hundreds of same-sex couples raced to county clerks' offices Monday to get wedding licenses in case the appeals court decided the other way. Salt Lake County alone issued 353 licenses, NBC station KSL of Salt Lake City reported - 4½ times more than it had ever issued in a single day previously.
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The Rev. Curtis Price was waiting in the lobby of the Salt Lake County Government Building to marry Shauna Griffen and Brooke Shepherd, who'd spent the night waiting in line wearing matching shirts proclaiming "Love conquers hate."
"It was a long night. We were worried," Griffen told KSL. "I had faith in Salt Lake County - they came through."
NBC News, M. Alex Johnson,