Marriage equality legal in Alaska after Supreme Court rejects state's challenge
Gay couple holding hands, wearing a wedding ring (Shutterstock)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday allowed gay marriage in Alaska to go into effect, increasing the number of U.S. states that permit gay marriage to 31.

The nine justices rejected a last-minute request from the state, which wanted to block a ruling by a federal judge on Sunday that struck down the state's ban. Gay and lesbian couples will now be able to obtain marriage licenses.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and James Dalgleish)