Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled today.

U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen ruled today in a 41-page opinion that the state's ban on same-sex marriages was in violation of equal protection guarantees.

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. 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.

The commonwealth won't immediately start issuing same-sex marriage licenses however; the District judge's ruling will face an appeal first.

[image via AP]