A federal judge struck down Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday.
But don't expect a rush of weddings in the Bluegrass State. The judge immediately put his decision on hold until the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the issue, a delay similar to what other judges have done in rulings across the country.
"This Court bases its ruling primarily upon the utter lack of logical relation between the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriages and any conceivable legitimate state interest," Senior Judge John G. Heyburn II wrote in his opinion, calling arguments for the ban "arbitrary or irrational."
In February, Heyburn ruled that the state had to recognize valid same-sex marriages performed in other states.
In that that narrower ruling, he left little doubt about where his opinions lie on the matter.
"For years, many states had a tradition of segregation and even articulated reasons why it created a better, more stable society. Similarly, many states deprived women of their equal rights under the law, believing this to properly preserve our traditions," Heyburn wrote in February.
"In time, even the most strident supporters of these views understood that they could not enforce their particular moral views to the detriment of another's constitutional rights. Here as well, sometime in the not too distant future, the same understanding will come to pass."
Shortly, after that ruling, the state's Democratic attorney general, Jack Conway, gave a news conference Tuesday that ended with tears streaming down his face, saying that defending the state's ban "would be defending discrimination."
The state's Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, ultimately hired an outside law firm to handle the appeal of that ruling.
Last week, gay marriage advocates won a significant victory when a federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling in Utah that struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriages.
The 2-1 ruling by a panel of the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals marked the first time a federal appellate court has upheld same-sex marriage. A year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a landmark ruling that extended federal benefits to gays — though the high court stopped short of ruling that same-sex marriage was a constitutionally protected right.
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage. Lawsuits have been filed in every other state to legalize gay marriage and related issues.