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By James Queally, Los Angeles Times

Utah’s attorney general petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to hear an appeal of a decision overturning the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

A federal appeals court found the state’s ban unconstitutional in a 2-1 decision on June 25, marking the first time a federal court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage since the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had to grant benefits to legally married same-sex couples in June of 2013.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced his intention to appeal a short time later and did so Tuesday.

“My responsibility is to defend the state constitution and its amendments as Utah citizens have enacted them,” Reyes said in a brief statement.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage, and this summer has seen a slew of lower-court decisions striking down bans around the country.

Shortly after the Utah decision, a federal appeals court overturned Oklahoma’s ban in a similar case. The attorneys general of Colorado and Indiana are challenging lower-court rulings against bans in those states, and three different judges in Florida have ruled that state’s marriage ban unconstitutional.

Marc Solomon, national campaign director for the advocacy group Freedom To Marry, said Reyes’ appeal could set the stage for the U.S. Supreme Court to make a definitive ruling on same-sex marriage.

“Today’s filing in the Utah case paves the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a marriage case later this year and bring national resolution on marriage once and for all,” he said in a statement. “Every day, hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples and their children are suffering the tangible harms of not being free to marry. The sting of discrimination and the crazy quilt of marriage laws are not just wrong but unconstitutional.”

Photo: sigmaration via Flickr

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