A federal judge on Thursday struck down Florida's ban on gay marriage, saying it was unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Tallahassee also ordered the state to recognize the out-of-state marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

Hinkle, however, stayed his order.

“When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida's ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination,” he wrote in his 33-page order. “Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held.”

“Liberty, tolerance, and respect are not zero-sum concepts. Those who enter opposite-sex marriages are harmed not at all when others, including these plaintiffs, are given the liberty to choose their own life partners and are shown the respect that comes with formal marriage,” he added.

While Hinkle's decision is the first to affect the entire state, it comes after judges in four counties reached similar conclusions.

Plaintiffs in the case, Brenner v. Scott, include 10 gay couples, including 1 seeking to get married, and SAVE, an LGBT rights advocate.

“While we are overjoyed that the judge erred on the side of fairness by ordering the state of Florida recognize the legal marriages of the plaintiffs, we will continue to make the case that it is Florida's responsibility to recognize the legal marriages of ALL same-sex couples, and not only those named as plaintiffs in our suit,” Tony Lima, the group's executive director, said in a statement.

(Thanks to Equality Case Files for the documents.)