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Judge strikes down Indiana's same-sex marriage ban

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images News

A federal court struck down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriages in a sweeping ruling on Wednesday, allowing same-sex couples to marry immediately.

US District Court Judge Richard Young's ruling, like other cases, said the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause guarantees marriage equality rights for same-sex couples.

"The court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue," Young wrote. "In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions — laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love."

Young applied no stay to the ruling, meaning marriages were allowed to take effect immediately. But a court of appeals put the ruling on hold Friday as it works through the appeals process, which effectively ended new same-sex marriages from this point forward.

As Young noted in his ruling, his decision is just the latest in a string of opinions issued by courts in favor of same-sex marriage rights. Most recently, courts struck down same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Oregon.

Further reading

Update: Incorporated the appeal court's stay.