Gov. Gary Herbert says if Utah had a law protecting same-sex marriage and that protection was challenged, he'd defend it just as he's defending the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Herbert made the comments at his monthly televised news conference on KUED-TV Thursday, a day after a federal appeals court ruled Utah's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

The Republican governor says his personal views on the issue are not relevant because it's his job to defend the state's laws. He has previously said he supports the ban.

Herbert says the state needs to pursue the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve differences of opinion over the issue.

He says he doesn't know how the Supreme Court would rule on the case but he expects it would be a split decision.