A district court in the US state of Iowa has ruled in favour of same-sex marriage.

In response to a lawsuit brought by six same-sex couples seeking to wed, Judge Robert Hanson wrote in the ruling:

“Couples, such as plaintiffs, who are otherwise qualified to marry one another may not be denied licenses to marry or certificates of marriage or in any other way prevented from entering into a civil marriage pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 595 by reason of the fact that both persons compromising such a couple are of the same sex.”

The couples were previously denied marriage licenses and made an appeal that such treatment violates the Iowa constitution’s guarantees of equal protection.

Court documents show that the decision was based on state constitution’s guarantee of equal treatment.

Hanson launched a stinging attack on the establishment law on marriage as defined between a man and a woman describing it as “the most intrusive means by the state to regulate marriage. This statute is an absolute prohibition on the ability of gay and lesbian individuals to marry a person of their choosing”.

According to Lambda Legal, a gay and lesbian legal organization representing the six couples, the case will be advanced onto the Iowa Supreme Court where the final decision will be made.

According to Lambda: “Three of the couples are raising children, others are planning families, and all want the responsibilities of marriage and the protections only marriage can provide”

Polk County Attorney John Sarcone, however expressed his opposition to the ruling. According to CNN, he said:

“We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision, and we’re going to ask for a stay”

He is considering the option of filing a motion to reconsider, but in any case is set to appeal the ruling.

Dennis Johnson, co-counsel for the plaintiffs along with Lambda Legal, issued a statement declaring the ruling:

“a significant step forward in recognizing the constitutional rights of all Iowans”

Mr Johnson described it as “an amazing day for same-sex couples and their families all across Iowa.”