Officials ask high court to delay same-sex marriage in Alaska

(CNN) -- Alaska officials have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block -- at least temporarily -- same-sex marriage from moving ahead in the state. A resolution could come as early as Friday.

A federal judge there last week had ordered gay and lesbian couples be allowed to apply for marriage licenses and to wed after a normal three-day waiting period. But everything is now on hold until the justices issue an order. If the state loses at the high court, same-sex marriage could begin at 11 a.m. local time Friday.

Alaska's Department of Law said "the state cannot issue any marriage licenses until the stay is lifted."

Some couples had begun applying for marriage licenses as early as Monday and in at least some cases, couples were married when they were granted an expedited consideration.

The state then asked for a stay, saying it needs more time to file more detailed appeals to show its sovereign power to define marriage is being usurped by the courts. Officials, including the governor said waiting until the broader legal questions are resolved is best for all Alaskans.

"Without a stay, the interim licensing of marriages contrary to Alaska law could easily lead to administrative chaos that will harm everyone's interest in the orderly enforcement of domestic relations laws," said the state's high court appeal.

But a number of same-sex couples cited a federal appeals court ruling last week that struck down bans in Nevada and Idaho as unconstitutional. That appeals court's legal jurisdiction includes Alaska and other Western states.

The high court case is Parnell v. Hamby (14A413).