The Supreme Court on Thursday delayed a decision on whether to hear any cases challenging the constitutionality of state bans on gay marriage.

Justices are considering petitions from five cases challenging bans in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin. Defendants in the cases turned to the high court after lower courts overturned the bans.

The cases were not among those the justices agreed to hear during its upcoming term.

A Supreme Court decision last year forcing the federal government to recognize the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples set off a flurry of legal activity challenging the nation's 31 state bans.

Rulings from two additional appeals courts challenging bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Hawaii, Idaho and Nevada are expected any day now and may also be headed to the Supreme Court.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently said a split among appeals courts would likely determine when the high court decides to step in. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has signaled it might be the first federal appellate court to uphold such bans.

Justices meet again to consider new cases next Friday.