A federal judge overturned Montana’s same-sex marriage ban Wednesday, making it the 34th state in the nation to allow such unions.
U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris’ order was effective immediately.
“Montana no longer can deprive Plaintiffs and other same-sex couples of the chance to marry their loves. This Court recognizes that not everyone will celebrate this outcome,” he wrote in the ruling.
“This decision overturns a Montana Constitutional amendment approved by the voters of Montana. Yet the United States Constitution exists to protect disfavored minorities from the will of the majority,” the judge said.
Morris added: “The time has come for Montana to follow all the other states within the Ninth Circuit and recognize laws that ban same-sex marriage violate the constitutional right of same-sex couples to equal protection of the laws.”
According to the ruling, Montana is one of 34 states that now permit same-sex marriage.
Morris was appointed by President Barack Obama in December 2013.