The Attorney General of the US state of Kentucky has asked for a three month delay on an order requiring the state to recognise out-of-state same-sex couples.

A US federal judge earlier this month struck down a Kentucky ban on the recognition of same-sex marriages from other states.

US District Judge John G Heyburn ruled that the ban violated the guarantee of equal protection under the US Constitution.

A filing made on Thursday morning asked for a 90-day delay before the ruling comes into effect, in order to allow the state an opportunity to either decide whether to appeal, or to prepare to put the order in place.

The lawsuit was brought against Kentucky by four gay and lesbian couples who married out of the state.

Judge Heyburn ruled that while ”religious beliefs … are vital to the fabric of society … assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.”

The ruling went on to say that “it is clear that Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

He also noted the US Supreme Court’s strike-down of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), in saying that a 2004 constitutional amendment specifically defining marriage as between one man and one woman would be struck down.