The U.S. Supreme Court announced late Tuesday that it will not block the Wednesday start of a gay marriage law in the District of Columbia.

Opponents of the law, who say gay marriage should be put up for a vote, filed the challenge with Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday.

In denying the emergency stay, Roberts said he believed the full court was unlikely to take up the measure, adding, “it has been the practice of the Court to defer to the decision of the courts of the District of Columbia on matters of exclusively local concern.”

The government of DC approved the law in December, but has been defending gay marriage since it approved a law last spring that recognizes the marriages of gay and lesbian couples from other states.

A last-minute appeal to the District of Columbia Appeals Court, which was rejected Friday, left opponents with few legal options to head off the law from going into effect.

The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear two cases that involve gay rights.

Roberts' full three-page ruling is available at