About 30 states have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to delay a ruling that would allow gay couples to wed after the justices struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The states that have asked for an emergency stay include Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Louisiana, New York and North Carolina.
The justices on Thursday refused to issue an emergency order because the lower courts have not issued any decisions.
The federal government has until May 6 to respond to their petitions.
The courts had already been deliberating for months over whether to issue a stay.
The case involves a Utah man and his partner, who were denied a marriage license after the state Supreme Court ruled that it violated the state constitution by excluding same-gender couples.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.C.C., which hears appeals of federal court rulings, had ruled that the law was unconstitutional.
The ruling has led to widespread confusion and division among supporters and opponents of gay marriage.
In Utah, the state has been the site of a nationwide battle, with voters passing a constitutional amendment last year banning same-night same-day marriages.
Supporters say the state should have the ability to ban same-seam marriages but remain neutral about whether the federal government should recognize same-site unions, which could be a violation of federal law.
Supporters of gay rights say the states must recognize unions in every jurisdiction.
The law, signed by Republican Gov.
Gary Herbert in 2015, banned same-party unions, but gay and lesbian couples can marry in Utah and many other states.
The court is also reviewing a federal appeals court ruling that struck down Utah’s ban on same-level marriages.
The state’s attorney general argued in favor of an emergency request for a stay and said the state’s constitution is clear that the federal ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
“Our state government cannot be forced to recognize a state’s laws that it finds unconstitutional,” the attorney general, Rob Johnson, said in a statement.
“This is especially true in a state with an established tradition of religious freedom.”
The case has also drawn criticism from conservative and liberal legal groups.
The conservative American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Utah, said it was disappointed the court did not act immediately to allow the couples to get married.
“The Supreme Court’s refusal to act immediately is further evidence that the Supreme Court is willing to defer to the wishes of the majority in the cases before it,” said Chris Brookover, legal director of the ACLU of Utah.
The same-rights group Lambda Legal, which filed the brief, called the court’s inaction “an embarrassment.”
“The court is trying to hold on to the same old same-old same- old,” said Lambda Executive Director Lanny Breuer.
“It’s clear that it’s going to be difficult to make that case in court.”
In New Mexico on Wednesday, a judge overturned a state ban on a same-sport venue, saying the ban was unconstitutional because the state did not have a clear definition of the word “club.”
A judge in that state said the club should be classified as a place of public accommodation.
“I’m a firm believer that a state can’t have a club that has the name ‘The Rock’ or the name of a sporting event,” said New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Eddy Garcia.
“We’re a state that’s not a club, we’re a place where people go to have fun.”
Garcia said the judge’s ruling will have an immediate impact on the state.
“As soon as I make that ruling, the venue will be open and it will be a club,” he said.
The Nevada Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a challenge to a state law that bars gay couples from marrying.
The measure would have allowed same- sex couples to marry in the state but the state argued the law violated the U,S.
The judges also ruled that a Nevada couple could marry in Nevada but not in New Mexico.
The decision was a victory for gay rights advocates who had fought against the measure, arguing that it would be an affront to religious freedom.
“Nevada is a state whose citizens have already embraced the dignity and respect that comes with marriage,” said Matt Bennett, a lawyer for the state Department of Health.
“A gay couple can now marry in New York or California, but not Nevada.”
The Utah Supreme Court in July ruled that gay marriage could be performed in the Utah State Capitol if the state Legislature approves it.
In March, New Jersey lawmakers approved an amendment to allow same- and intersex couples to enter into civil unions, although a judge blocked the measure from going into effect because it does not take effect until 2018.