An American federal judge has declared Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, joining judges around America who have sided with gay couples wishing to marry.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle in Tallahassee ruled Thursday that the ban added to Florida's constitution by voters in 2008 violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process. Hinkle issued a stay delaying the effect of his order, meaning no marriage licenses will be immediately issued for gay couples.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has appealed the previous rulings striking down the ban in four counties. Hinkle's ruling allows time for appeals in the federal case.

A number of similar rulings around the U.S. have been put on hold while appeals are pursued.