A federal judge has made a preliminary ruling which could pave the way for the recognition of same-sex marriages in Tennessee.

Judge Aleta Trauger on Friday placed a preliminary injunction against the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

The ruling came after three Tennessee same-sex couples married out of state filed a lawsuit asking the state to recognise their same-sex marriages.

The injunction was granted pending a broader review of the state’s law banning same-sex unions.

“At this point, all signs indicate that, in the eyes of the United States Constitution, the plaintiffs’ marriages will be placed on an equal footing with those of heterosexual couples and that proscriptions against same-sex marriage will soon become a footnote in the annals of American history,” Judge Trauger wrote.

The ruling only applies to the three couples, all married in California or New York, but attorneys acting on behalf of the plaintiffs were hopeful that this ruling would eventually lead to marriage equality in the state.

Both a law passed in 1998 and a constitutional amendment passed in 2006, ban same-sex marriage in Tennessee.

The state’s attorney general is currently assessing how to defend the laws.