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Appeals court rules states can't ban same-sex marriages

DENVER, CO (WTAQ) - Wisconsin's same-sex couples scored a legal victory Wednesday, when a three-judge federal appellate panel ruled for the first time that states must let gays get married.

Part of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a district judge who threw out Utah's ban on same-sex marriages.

The three appellate judges said it's "wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of the love and commitment between same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and personal decisions of opposite-sex couples."

The panel immediately put its ruling on hold, so it can be appealed either to the full 10th Circuit panel, or to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Earlier this month, Federal Judge Barbara Crabb of Madison threw out Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriages, which -- like Utah's -- had been approved by voters. She, too, put her ruling on hold while it gets appealed. And Crabb did not say what would happen to the more than 550 same-sex marriages which took place in the week after she initially ruled the ban was unconstitutional, but before she put her ruling on hold.

State attorneys in both Wisconsin and Utah said voters exercised their legal rights to define marriage in their respective states -- but gay rights' lawyers said voters cannot act in ways which deprive certain people of their rights.

16 federal judges have struck down various gay marriage bans since last year, when the U.S. Supreme Court threw out much of the national Defense of Marriage Act.

The Supreme Court is not expected to take up the states' gay marriage bans until next year at the earliest.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)