(CNN) -- Months after ruling that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, a federal judge decided Tuesday that the state must conduct them as well.
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II on Tuesday ruled that Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Heyburn's decision -- like his earlier one -- will not go into immediate effect at least until the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the matter. The state appealed the first case, and Kentucky's governor indicated Tuesday the state also will appeal the latest ruling.
Heyburn ruled Thursday in a case brought by two same-sex couples who argued the state's law violated their rights.
"Ultimately, Kentucky's laws banning same-sex marriage cannot withstand constitutional review," Heyburn wrote in a 19-page opinion.
He cited in part the Supreme Court's decision last year to strike down a federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act, which had denied legally married same-sex couples the same federal benefits, including tax breaks, available to heterosexual couples.
"Assuring equal protection for same-sex couples does not diminish the freedom of others to any degree," Heyburn wrote.
The office of Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear said the state would appeal Tuesday's ruling, like Heyburn's earlier decision, "so that the matter is fully before the 6th Circuit."