A federal judge on Tuesday refused to block a ruling striking down Alaska's ban on gay marriage as the state pursues an appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess struck down the ban, which was approved by voters in 1998, on Sunday, saying it violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Republican Governor Sean Parnell immediately put out a statement saying he had a duty to appeal the decision.

Parnell's lawyers asked Burgess to set aside his ruling pending an appeal. Burgess denied the request late Tuesday.

Alaska is under the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which knocked down similar bans in Idaho and Nevada last week.

The legal fight now moves to the Ninth Circuit, where Alaska is asking for a stay in the ruling and an en banc appeal. An en banc appeal involves the court's complete slate of judges, skipping the customary 3-judge panel.

The state started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples on Monday. In at least two cases, a judge has waived the state's 3-day waiting period and married the couples.