An appeals court in the US has ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, and immediately put the ruling on hold, pending appeal.

“Having heard and carefully considered the argument of the litigants, we conclude that, consistent with the United States Constitution, the State of Utah may not do so (deny a citizen the benefit or protection of the laws of the State based solely upon the sex of the person that citizen chooses to marry),” the court wrote.

“We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.”

The three-judge panel in Denver upheld a lower court’s ruling which struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban. Over a thousand same-sex couples married after the lower court ruled.

A federal judge later said that the marriages performed before the stay was issued to stop them from taking place, must be recognised by the state.

The court was also considering Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban, but has not yet issued a ruling in that case.

A judge today also struck down Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, declaring it unconstitutional.

Same-sex marriage is now recognised in 20 states and the District of Columbia.