A lesbian couple in the US state of Nebraska have been barred from divorcing by a judge.

Brenda Mueller and Deborah Pry were told that as Nebraska doesn’t recognise gay marriage, it doesn’t recognise gay divorce.

The couple had a civil union in Vermont in 2003. The state now allows marriage for gay couples.

They filed for divorce in Otoe County Court last September but District Judge Randall Rehmeier said Nebraska’s constitutional ban on gay marriage meant he could not allow their application.

Ken Upton Jr, an attorney for advocacy group Lambda Legal, told NECN: “The first thing we tell same-sex couples who live in a non-recognition state: Think long and hard before you get married and returned home.

“Not only do you face the lack of access to divorce courts, you lack the safeguards that state marriage laws provide different-sex married couples.”

Last September, an appeals court in Texas ruled that gay couples who married in other states cannot divorce.

The case concerned a gay couple who wed in Massachusetts in 2007 and then returned to Dallas.

Texas does not recognise same-sex marriage and has a constitutional amendment explicitly banning the practice.