A federal judge on Wednesday struck down Montana's ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris did not stay his ruling.

In his 18-page ruling, Morris said that the decade-old constitutional amendment limiting marriage to couples of the opposite sex violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“Defendants fail to put forth any persuasive argument that the discriminatory means employed by these laws relate substantially to the achievement of any important government objective,” Morris wrote.

“No family wants to deprive its precious children of the chance to marry the loves of their lives. Montana no longer can deprive Plaintiffs and other same-sex couples of the chance to marry their loves.”

“This Court recognizes that not everyone will celebrate this outcome,” Morris added. “Yet the United States Constitution exists to protect disfavored minorities from the will of the majority.”

Plaintiff couples in the case are Angie and Tonya Rolando of Great Falls, Shauna and Nicole Goubeaux of Bilings, Ben Milano and Chase Weinhandl of Bozeman and Sue Hawthorne and Adel Johnson of Helena. The Goubeauxs are raising 1-year-old Aden, while Tonya and Angie, who share a last name but are not married, have two children from previous marriages.

(Opinion provided by Equality Case Files.)