A federal judge ruled the ban on same-sex marriage in Nebraska as unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon’s ruling would allow county clerks to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses to couples on March 9.
The Nebraska attorney general’s office immediately appealed the ruling to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In 2000, Nebraska voters approved a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman, and the state does not recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships.
“The definition of marriage is an issue for the people of Nebraska, and an activist judge should not substitute his personal political preferences for the will of the people," Governor Pete Ricketts said in a statement.
Today’s victory for the gay rights movement highlights the wave of progression riding across the U.S. that is slowly affecting even the most conservative states. While states like Nebraska and Alabama might have difficulty accepting gay marriage, the general public is increasingly becoming more supportive of gay rights and the federal government reflects that support.
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry everywhere in the U.S. by late June. On Friday, challengers to bans in Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky filed briefs related to the case.
"It is time for the U.S. Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution and end marriage discrimination for all Americans," Freedom to Marry president Evan Wolfson said in a statement.