Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), have applauded a Supreme Court ruling halting gay marriage in Utah.

Justices on Monday appeared united in granting a stay to a December 20 ruling striking down Amendment 3, Utah's 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual unions, until the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver reviews the case.

“The Supreme Court made the correct decision to stay Judge Shelby's ruling in the Amendment 3 case,” Herbert, a Republican, said in a statement. “Clearly, the stay should have been granted with the original District Court decision in order to have avoided the uncertainty created by this unprecedented change. As I have said all along, all Utahns deserve to have this issue resolved through a fair and complete judicial process. I firmly believe this is a state-rights issue and I will work to defend the position of the people of Utah and our State Constitution.”

Brown, who heads the nation's most vociferous organization opposed to marriage equality, also applauded the high court's move.

“It was outrageous that this brazen judge appointed by President [Barack] Obama would substitute his views for the sovereign decision made by both the Utah Legislature and the people of the state, who voted overwhelmingly in favor of defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Brown said in a blog post. “The decision by a single federal judge to redefine marriage in Utah is lawless, and we are pleased that the Supreme Court has put this decision on hold to allow the state to appeal it in an orderly fashion.”

Brown used the occasion to once again call for passage of a federal amendment which would exclude gay couples from marriage.

“Everyone in America should be concerned to see how easily activist judges can cavalierly toss out the will of overwhelming majorities of legislators and voters alike,” Brown said. “It's becoming increasingly clear that the people of America need to reclaim their sovereignty and amend the US Constitution to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”