Appellate Stay Trips Up Gay Marriage in Utah

     (CN) - The legal status of gay marriages in Utah is uncertain after the 10th Circuit granted the Beehive State a temporary stay of an order recognizing same-sex marriage.
     Though a federal judge lifted the ban on gay marriage in December, Utah claimed on appeal that the ruling interferes with the state's ability to enforce its laws. The state said that its predominantly Mormon population favors a ban on gay marriage.
     Same-sex marriages were allowed in Utah for a 17-day window, but the appeals court granted a temporary stay Thursday on the ban ruling.
     Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said the state appreciates the opportunity "for more time to allow all parties a chance to address such important issues."
     The plaintiffs in the case - Jonell Evans, Stacia Ireland, Marina Gomberg, Elenor Heyborne, Matthew Barraza, Donald Johnson and Carl Shultz - have until June 12 to respond to the stay motion.
     U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in January that the state's actions will not stop the federal government from recognizing Utah same-sex marriages.
     "These marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages," Holder said. "These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds."