Gay and lesbian couples have started exchanging vows in Indiana after a federal judge on Wednesday struck down the state's ban on gay marriage.

“The court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue,” U.S. District Judge Richard Young said in his 36-page ruling. “In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions – laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage – not a same-sex marriage.”

Young ordered the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples and did not issue a stay.

“Chief Judge Richard Young's decision on marriage equality sets forth a clear course of action for this office to follow regarding same-sex marriage licenses,” Marion County Clerk Beth White said in a statement. “It is my responsibility to uphold court rulings that impact this office and that is what I will do.”

According to The Indianapolis Star, Craig Bowen and Jake Miller (pictured above; photo credit Michelle Pemberton/The Star) were the first to receive a marriage license and be married in Indianapolis.

A spokesman for Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Zoeller's office “will quickly ask for a stay of today's ruling pending appeal.”

The ruling was handed down on the same day that an appeals court upheld a lower court's ruling striking down Utah's ban and one day before the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling striking down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

(Related: Appeals court rules Utah's gay marriage ban unconstitutional.)