A federal judge has struck down Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that gay couples have the right to marry in the Bluegrass State.
"In America, even sincere and long-hold religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted," U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II wrote in the ruling, which concluded that the state's ban violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.
The judge stayed the ruling pending an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, meaning same-sex weddings are not yet allowed in the state. However, Heyburn criticized Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) for arguing that the ban preserves the state's birth rate and therefore contributes to Kentucky's economic stability.
"These arguments are not those of serious people," Heyburn wrote.
Beshear plans to appeal Tuesday's ruling.
Earlier this year, Heyburn ruled that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where the weddings are legal. That decision is also temporarily on hold pending legal challenges.
Tuesday's ruling is the latest in an unbroken string of rulings in favor of marriage equality since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last June.
Read the full ruling below:
This is a developing story and has been updated.
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