Eric Turner, Associated Press
In this Oct. 10, 2013 photo, Sharon Baldwin, left, and Mary Bishop speak at East Central University in Ada, Okla., as part of the ECU Gay-Straight Alliance's National Coming Out Day event. A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Oklahoma's gay marriage ban, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution, but immediately stayed the effects of the ruling while the courts sort out the matter.

TULSA, Okla. — A federal judge has struck down Oklahoma's gay marriage ban, ruling that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

But U.S. District Judge Terence Kern immediately stayed his own ruling Tuesday. That means there won't be a rush to the altar in the conservative Bible Belt state like there was in Utah after a similar ruling last month.

Kern's ruling came in a lawsuit filed by two same-sex couples over a constitutional amendment approved by Oklahoma voters in 2004. The measure says marriage in the state consists only of the union of one man and one woman.

Kern said the ban violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.

State Rep. Sally Kern, who opposes gay marriage, blamed Tuesday's ruling on "activist judges."