A federal judge found Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional late on Thursday, saying it denied gay couples a fundamental freedom to marry.
US District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen in Norfolk, Virginia, issued the ruling in Bostic v. Rainey, in which two same-sex couples sued to overturn the state's ban.
She stayed execution of her order striking down Virginia's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage pending an appeal.
"The Court is compelled to conclude that Virginia's Marriage Laws unconstitutionally deny Virginia's gay and lesbian citizens the fundamental freedom to choose to marry," Allen wrote in her opinion.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Ken Wills)