More than 1,000 people filled Utah's ornate capitol rotunda on Friday to ask Governor Gary Herbert to drop an appeal in a case that struck down Utah's ban on gay marriage.

The Salt Lake City rally took place on the same day the Obama administration announced that the federal government would recognize the more than 1,300 marriage licenses Utah issued to gay and lesbian couples during the 17 days when such unions were legal in the state.

“What a momentous time this is for us today because today's decision by [U.S. Attorney General] Eric Holder recognizes that the protections in the constitution are guaranteed to all Utahns,” Troy Williams, a local radio host and a prominent gay rights activist, told the crowd.

The Obama administration's announcement came two days after Utah officials announced that the state was placing all the marriages “on hold” as it sought an appeal in the case.

Tim Wagner of Salt Lake City and Matt Jacobson of St. George gathered more than 58,000 signatures between two separate online petitions.

Wagner's petition calls on Hebert to let the ruling stand, while Jacobson's petition urges Utah not to waste an estimated $2 million fighting the decision.

“I care about love, just like the rest of you.  That's why I did this,” Wagner said.

Riley Hackford-Peer, a red-headed sixth-grader, told the crowd that he had asked his moms Ruth and Kim to marry in Iowa. He said that his moms explained that Utah does not recognize the out-of-state marriages of gay couples. Then came the judge's ruling.

“On December 20, it happened,” an energetic Riley said. “I saw my moms get married in Utah. It felt like fireworks bursting in my heart.”

“Some people do not believe I am from a loving family because my moms are gay. They are wrong. I love my moms, and my moms love me and my brother unconditionally,” he added to cheers from the crowd.

(Video from the event is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)