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Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

County clerk’s offices around Utah are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples just hours after a federal judge struck down Utah’s ban on gay marriages.

The Washington County Clerk’s Office said they had issued two licenses to same sex couples Friday. The Herald Journal also reported that the Cache County Clerk's Office is prepared to issue licenses.

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 issued an official statement after the decision, requesting an emergency stay pending the filing of an appeal. Utah Governor Gary Herbert also issued a statementexpressing his dissatisfaction with the ruling, saying he's disappointed an "activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the people of Utah."

The decision marks an ongoing nationwide shift toward allowing gay marriage, with Utah becoming the 18th state to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.