A judge in Dallas, Texas, has ruled that a gay couple can get divorced in the state, even though it does not recognise gay marriage.

Texas has a constitutional ban on gay marriage but Dallas state district judge Tena Callahan ruled yesterday that two men married in Massachusetts could be divorced in the state.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Callahan, a Democrat, also ruled that the voter-approved constitutional ban was a violation of equal rights and of the US Constitution.

Attorney General Greg Abbott has said he will appeal the ruling “to defend the traditional definition of marriage that was approved by Texas voters.”

In a statement, he added: “The laws and constitution of the State of Texas define marriage as an institution involving one man and one woman. Today’s ruling purports to strike down that constitutional definition – despite the fact that it was recently adopted by 75 percent of Texas voters.”

The constitutional ban was passed in 2005. Governor Rick Perry, who supported the ban, said: “Texas voters and lawmakers have repeatedly affirmed the view that marriage is defined as between one man and one woman. I believe the ruling is flawed and should be appealed.”

The gay couple married in Massachusetts in 2006 and then returned to Dallas. They have asked not to be named.