By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Utah officials on Tuesday filed court papers asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the state's ban on gay marriage.
If the court agrees to hear Utah's case, it could lead to a ruling of national scope on the legality of gay marriage bans.
The nine-member court will not decide whether to hear the case until the fall. If it does take the case, a ruling would be expected by the end of June 2015.
Utah's request is the first of several expected from various states in coming months as officials contest a series of rulings that have struck down gay marriage bans.
Voters in Utah approved that state's ban in 2004.
"My responsibility is to defend the state constitution and its amendments as Utah citizens have enacted them,” Utah's Republican attorney general, Sean Reyes, said in a statement.
In June, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a lower court ruling that struck down Utah's ban. The court reached the same result in a case concerning Oklahoma's ban. The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Virginia's ban in July.
[Closeup of hands of bridal couple with wedding rings Shutterstock]