Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Bans

A federal appeals court in Denver ruled for the first time yesterday that states cannot prevent gay couples from getting married, extending the movement's legal winning streak and bringing the issue a big step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court. The 2-1 decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a lower-court ruling that struck down Utah's gay marriage ban. It becomes law in the six states covered by the 10th Circuit: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. The panel immediately put the ruling on hold pending an appeal. The Utah attorney general's office planned to appeal the decision but it was assessing whether to go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court or ask the entire 10th Circuit to review the ruling, spokeswoman Missy Larsen said. The Chattanooga Times Free Press has more from the Associated Press.