A US federal judge has overturned the US state of Virginia’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

The ruling by Judge Arenda Wright Allen will not immediately apply pending a possible appeal.

This does however, make Virginia the first Southern state in the US to have a voter-approved same-sex marriage ban overturned in federal court.

The ruling came out of a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, and the judge agreed with the plaintiffs, a gay couple, that the ban infringed on their constitutional rights and freedom to marry.

Despite being a blow for opponents of same-sex marriage, the case is likely to be drawn out and is expected to go all the way to the US Supreme Court.

This ruling is also being hailed as a signal that momentum is continuing to build in the US for equal marriage.

Earlier this week, a US federal judge struck down a Kentucky ban on the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Previously in Virginia, the House advanced a bill which would enable politicians to hire a lawyer to defend the same-sex marriage ban.