BOSTON. Same-sex marriage and equal rights activists celebrated a federal judge’s decision Thursday that ruled a federal ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

 

In ruling on the two challenges brought by the state and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Boston-based Judge Joseph Tauro decided the ban interferes with a state’s right to define marriage and violates equal protection rights.

 

The next likely step for the issue is the U.S. Court of Appeals.