(Reuters) - A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday put on hold a judge's two-day-old ruling striking down Indiana's ban on gay marriage, pending an appeal of the case.
The decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals followed a request by Indiana's attorney general for an emergency order to place the ruling on hold until the Chicago-based appeals court can hear the case.
"It is ordered that the motion is granted," a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit wrote. "The district court's order dated June 25, 2014, is stayed pending resolution of this appeal."
Gay marriage is legal in 19 of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Nine other states including Utah and Indiana are awaiting appeals court decisions after lower courts ruled in favor of same-sex marriages.
The American Civil Liberties Union represented the 13 plaintiffs who brought the lawsuit in March challenging Indiana's gay marriage ban.
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The move by the appeals court came after officiants in Marion County, which includes Indianapolis and is the most populous county in Indiana, performed 120 weddings of same-sex couples on Friday alone, Angie Nussmeyer, spokeswoman for the county clerk's office, said in an email.
Same-sex marriage licenses granted before the 7th Circuit issued the stay in the case are valid, the ACLU said.
In making the ruling to strike down Indiana's ban on gay marriage, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Richard Young on Wednesday said the state's ban violated the due process and equal protection clauses in the U.S. Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment. Young ordered officials to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday followed similar moves by other federal appeals courts to put on hold lower-court rulings granting gay men and women the right to marry until the issue can be decided on appeal.
On Wednesday, the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Utah could not ban gay couples from marrying, but it placed its decision on hold pending an anticipated appeal. The state attorney general's office said it would take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.