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U.S. appeals court backs gay marriage in conservative Utah

By Daniel Wallis DENVER (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court ruled on Wednesday that conservative Utah may not ban gay couples from marrying, a decision that capped a day of victories for same-sex nuptials and nudges the issue closer to the U.S. Supreme Court. The ruling by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Denver-based 10th Circuit marked the first time that a regional appeals court has made such a decision in the year since the Supreme Court ordered the federal government to extend benefits to legally married same-sex couples. The decision came as a federal district judge in Indiana joined a growing chorus of jurists who have struck down…