BY BRADY MCCOMBS AND PAUL FOY
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SALT LAKE CITY -- A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that gay marriages can continue in Utah, denying a request from the state to halt same-sex weddings that have been occurring at a rapid rate since last week.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' rejection of Utah's request for an emergency stay marks yet another legal setback for the state. The same federal judge who ruled that Utah's same-sex marriage ban violates gay and lesbian couples' rights previously denied the state's request to halt the marriages.
The appeals court said in its short ruling that a decision to put gay marriage on hold was not warranted, but said it put the case on the fast track for a full appeal of the ruling.
Utah's last chance to temporarily stop the marriages would be the U.S. Supreme Court. That's what the Utah Attorney General's Office is prepared to do, said spokesman Ryan Bruckman. "We're disappointed in the ruling, but we just have to take it to the next level," Bruckman said.