Same-sex couples in Utah getting marriage licenses

Judge strikes down ban on gay marriages

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A county clerk's office in Utah is issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, just hours after a federal judge struck down Utah's ban on gay marriages.

Salt Lake County Deputy Clerk Dahnelle Burton-Lee says the district attorney authorized her office to begin issuing the marriage licenses Friday.

She couldn't immediately say how many licenses have been issued so far.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled that a law passed by voters in 2004 violates gay and lesbian couples' rights to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

Shelby said the state failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages in any way.

The Utah attorney general's office says it plans to issue a statement on the ruling later.

The decision marks an ongoing nationwide shift toward allowing gay marriage.

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