BOISE, Idaho -

A federal magistrate judge has ruled that Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale wrote in the ruling Tuesday evening that Idaho's laws banning same-sex marriage unconstitutionally deny gay and lesbian citizens of their fundamental right to marry.

Dale says marriage works a fundamental change on the lives of all who experience it, and holds immense personal and spiritual significance. She says Idaho's laws wrongly stigmatize gay and lesbian couples and relegate their families to second-class status without sufficient reason.

Gov. Butch Otter issued the following statement shortly after the ruling:

“In 2006, the people of Idaho exercised their fundamental right, reaffirming that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. Today’s decision, while disappointing, is a small setback in a long-term battle that will end at the U.S. Supreme Court.  I am firmly committed to upholding the will of the people and defending our Constitution.”