Kentucky judge rejects gay marriage ban but stays ruling while Supreme Court considers issue

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FRANKFORT, Kentucky — A Kentucky judge has ruled in favor of two same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses but put the ruling on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court considers a similar challenge to gay marriage bans.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate on Thursday ruled that Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage violates the constitutional right to equal protection.

Oral arguments on challenges to gay marriage bans in Kentucky and three other states are scheduled before the Supreme Court on April 28.

A federal district judge in Louisville struck down the state's gay marriage ban last year. His ruling was overturned by a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, paving the way for the Supreme Court appeal.

The case before Wingate involved two Lexington couples who were denied marriage licenses by the Fayette County clerk in 2013.

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