The Supreme Court on Friday denied a stay of a lower court's ruling striking down Alaska's ban on gay marriage.

The move removes the last legal obstacle preventing gay and lesbian couples from marrying in Alaska.

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.

Lawyers representing Republican Governor Sean Parnell turned to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco after Burgess refused to set aside his ruling pending an appeal. A 3-judge panel on Wednesday issued a temporary stay “to afford appellants an opportunity to seek a stay from the United States Supreme Court.”

“The application for stay presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is denied,” the high court said in rejecting the request.

Officials in Alaska started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples on Monday. However, the state's 3-day waiting period gave the state time to pursue legal venues before such couples exchanged vows. Still, at least two couples persuaded a judge to waive the requirement and marry them.