- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Gov. Gary Herbert says he’s committed to defending Utah’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage but says the issue should be handled with civility and respect.

The Republican governor addressed the issue during his annual State of the State speech Wednesday evening.

More than 1,000 gay couples wed in Utah after a federal judge overturned the ban in late December.

Herbert ordered state agencies to freeze recognition of the same-sex marriages once the U.S. Supreme Court granted Utah an emergency stay earlier this month.

The governor says there is no place for hatred or bigotry as the controversial issue plays out in federal court.

Herbert’s comments come a day after hundreds of supporters and opponents of gay marriage packed the state Capitol for opposing rallies.

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