SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Advocates on both sides of the gay marriage debate predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that overturned part of a federal gay marriage ban would create a pathway for states to act. They were right.

In the six months since the decision, the number of states allowing gay marriage has jumped from 12 to 18, a trend that started before the high court ruling that's been reinforced since.

Judges in New Mexico, Ohio and, most surprisingly, conservative, Mormon-heavy Utah all ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in just the past week. Both Utah's case and another in Nevada will next be heard by federal appeals courts, putting them on the path toward the high court.

Ohio's case, which recognized same-sex death certificates, also will likely be appealed.

With Utah's ban struck down, 28 states still have constitutional prohibitions on same-sex marriage. Wyoming is among four states that don't permit it through state laws.