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Denver federal appeals court rules Utah’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional

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(Photo: MGN Online)

(Photo: MGN Online)

DENVER — A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled Wednesday a state cannot prevent gay people from getting married.

The panel said Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution and upheld a lower court ruling that struck down the ban in December.

The ruling, the first of its kind by a federal appeals court, was immediately put on hold as the case likely heads to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court heard the case in April.

The federal appeals court oversees five states in the region, including Colorado. Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico and Wyoming are the others.

The court also heard an appeals case for gay marriage in Oklahoma and a ruling on that case could be close. These were the first time a same-sex marriage cases heard by an appellate court since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last year.