A federal judge in Kentucky has allowed a gay couple to file jointly for bankruptcy. It is believed to be the first such filing by a gay couple in the state.

Bob Joles and Joey Lester, who have been together for 16 years, married on May 9 in Buffalo, New York, one of six states where such unions are legal.

The Louisville couple lost more than $200,000 in a market in downtown Louisville, The Bodega at Felice.

The couple was allowed to file a joint Chapter 13 bankruptcy in federal court because the Obama administration is no longer challenging such filings.

Last year, a federal bankruptcy court in California ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. DOMA is the 1996 law which prohibits federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

In an unusual show of support, 19 out of the remaining 23 judges of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California signed on to Judge Thomas B. Donovan's ruling, which read in part: “In this court's judgment, no legally married couple should be entitled to fewer bankruptcy rights than any other legally married couple.”

Filing jointly “made our marriage seem more real,” Joles, 48, told the Courier-Journal. “And it forced the court to recognize us as a married couple.”

Supporters of Kentucky's 2004 constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual unions chided the ruling.

“For a bankruptcy trustee and judge to allow this to go forward in the commonwealth of Kentucky is an affront to the citizens of this state who spoke very loudly in 2004 when they passed the marriage amendment,” said state Rep. Stan Lee, a Republican from Lexington.

At the direction of House Speaker John Boehner, the House's Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) has intervened in at least 12 DOMA-related cases since President Barack Obama instructed the Department of Justice to no longer defend the law in court. However, BLAG has not appealed bankruptcy cases involving married gay couples.

A Boehner spokesperson told the paper that such litigation would be too expensive and “unlikely to provide the path to the Supreme Court, where we imagine the question of constitutionality will ultimately be decided.”