LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A federal judge has struck down Texas' ban on gay marriage, but is leaving it in place pending a ruling by an appeals court later this year.

Judge Orlando Garcia issued a preliminary injunction on the ban Wednesday, then suspended his ruling. Two gay couples had challenged the state's constitutional amendment and a longstanding law banning gay marriage.

Under federal court rules, a judge may suspend a law if he or she believes the plaintiffs have a strong case and will suffer if the law is enforced.

Garcia said his injunction against Texas enforcing its ban will take effect once an appeals court has a chance to rule on the issue.

The ruling is the latest in a recent series of victories for gay rights activists.

Read or Share this story: http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/politics/2014/02/26/1880894/