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A federal judge ordered the state of Tennessee on Friday to recognize the marriages of three same-sex couples while their lawsuit against the state works its way through the court system.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger issued the preliminary injunction barring the state from enforcing laws prohibiting recognition of their marriages.

In her written memorandum, Trauger makes clear that her order is only temporary and only applies to the three same-sex couples. A preliminary injunction can only be granted in cases the judge believes the plaintiff will likely win.

"It's the first nail in the coffin of discriminating against same-sex married couples in Tennessee," said Abby Rubenfeld, one of the attorneys for the same-sex couples. "Every single court that has considered these same issues has ruled the same way."

A spokesman for Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said in an email that Trauger's decision is still being reviewed by officials.

"The governor is disappointed that the court has stepped in when Tennesseans have voted clearly on this issue," David Smith said. "Beyond that it's inappropriate to comment due to the continuing litigation."

In Tennessee, marriage between partners of the same gender is prohibited by state law and by a constitutional amendment approved in 2006.


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