DENVER (AP) — Nine same-sex couples challenging Colorado's gay marriage ban are thrilled by a federal appeals court's ruling that a similar ban in Utah is unconstitutional.

An attorney for the couples, John McHugh, says they are excited by the decision, even though it will not impact their lawsuit seeking to be recognized as married couples in Colorado. They have argued that the state's voter-approved gay marriage ban violates their constitutional rights.

They are still awaiting state District Judge C. Scott Crabtree's written decision. Crabtree has said it will likely be appealed.

Attorney General John Suthers' office says it will continue to defend the state's gay marriage ban until there is a final court resolution of the issue.