A federal judge on Thursday ruled that Kentucky must recognize the out-of-state marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn earlier this month declared that the state's laws “violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Heyburn on Thursday denied a request from Attorney General Jack Conway's office to stay his ruling.

“Those laws … are void and unenforceable,” Heyburn wrote in a brief order, The Courier-Journal reported.

Conway, a Democrat, has yet to announce whether the state will pursue an appeal. Earlier this week, Attorney General Eric Holder stated that state attorneys general are not obligated to defend unconstitutional laws.

“[I]n general, I believe we must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation,” he told a National Association of Attorneys General audience.

(Related: Eric Holder: State attorneys general “must be suspicious” of gay marriage bans.)

Attorneys general in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Illinois and most recently Oregon have refused to defend laws that prohibit gay couples from marrying.

Four gay and lesbian couples filed the lawsuit soon after the Supreme Court eviscerated the heart of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June. The high court's majority ruled unconstitutional DOMA's provision prohibiting federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples. Its decision also chided lawmakers for legalizing discrimination.

Plaintiff couple Gregory Bourke and Michael Deleon from Louisville, both 55, married in Canada in 2004.

“We are victims of discrimination, and that's what the lawsuit is about,” Deleon, a database administrator, told The Courier-Journal. “Not being treated equally under the law.”

The ruling follows a federal decision handed down Wednesday declaring Texas' ban on same-sex marriage invalid.

(Related: Texas' gay marriage ban ruled unconstitutional.)