An appeals court has ruled that Utah must begin to recognise the marriages of the hundreds of same-sex couples who married in the state.

Over 1000 gay couples married in the state, where same-sex marriage was legalised for 17 days after a judge ruled in December that the state’s marriage ban is unconstitutional.

However, on January 6, the US Supreme Court stayed the ruling, putting the marriage ban back in place and causing some to doubt the legality of the marriages.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the state must begin to recognise those 1000 marriages, despite the ongoing battle over marriage equality.

John Mejia of the American Civil Liberties Union said: “It’s a relief to our clients and the 1,000 other lawfully wedded same-sex couples in our state that their marriages will be recognized throughout this process.

“We continue to fight to ensure that these loving and committed couples get the permanent recognition they deserve.”

Utah’s Republican Attorney General said in a statement: “The State recognizes that pending cases regarding same-sex marriage in Utah impact the lives of many individuals and families and is diligently seeking uniform certainty through proper and orderly legal processes until Kitchen v. Herbert is resolved.”

The case will now head to the Supreme Court, where the state’s marriage ban as a whole is also headed.