Central Kentucky judge rejects state’s gay marriage ban

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Franklin County judge has ruled in favor of two same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses but put his ruling on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court considers a similar challenge.

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

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Oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court case are set for April 28; in the meantime, Wingate’s ruling is on hold. The Supreme Court case challenges marriage bans in Kentucky and three other states.

A federal district judge in Louisville struck down the state’s marriage ban last year but was overturned by a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, setting up the Supreme Court appeal.

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