A federal judge ruled late Thursday evening Virginia's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen's decision makes Virginia the second state in the South to have a ban on gay marriages overturned.
Wright stayed her decision until an appeals court rules, meaning that gay couples will not be able to marry in the state immediately.
Thursday, Wright ruled the ban violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.
Norfolk, Va. residents Timothy Bostic and Tony London filed an initial complaint last year when their application for a marriage license was denied.
Chesterfield County, Va. residents Mary Townley and Carol Schall were added as plaintiffs to the case. The two were married in California in 2008, but their marriage was not recognized in the Commonwealth. Their claim centered around Schall's wish to adopt Townley's birth daughter, which she was unable to do under Commonwealth law. Court documents say the two women tried to renew their daughter's passport at a US Postal Office in Virginia, and were denied.
"You're nobody, you don't matter," the two were told by a clerk, according to court documents.
Court documents go on to describe the couple's uphill battle obtaining health insurance.
"Government interests in perpetuating traditions, shielding state matters from federal interference, and favoring one model of parenting over others must yield to this country's cherished protections that ensure the exercise of the private choices of the individual citizen regarding love and family," Wright wrote.
Virginians voted to constitutionally define marriage between a man and a woman in 2006. Recently-elected Attorney General Mark Herring announced earlier this year he would not uphold it, paving the way for hearings challenging the ban.
The decision comes the day after a similar ruling in Kentucky and following similar rulings in federal courts in Utah and Oklahoma.