A federal judge has ruled Nebraska's statewide ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon issued the ruling Monday, saying county clerks will be permitted to begin issuing gay marriage licenses on March 9.
"[A]ll relevant state officials are ordered to treat same-sex couples the same as different sex couples in the context of processing a marriage license or determining the rights, protections, obligations or benefits of marriage," he wrote in the order.
Bataillon has struck down the state's ban on gay marriage before; in 2005, the judge ruled the ban unconstitutional, but the Eight Circuit reversed his decision in July 2006.
The news comes just after the state lifted a 20-year-old ban on gay people becoming licensed foster parents. The policy barred unmarried, unrelated adults who live together from fostering children. Included in the restriction were same-sex couples and people who identify as gay -- even those living without a partner.
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