March 21 (Bloomberg) — Michigan's gay marriage ban was held unconstitutional by a U.S. judge, making it the 21st state where same-sex unions are deemed legal and triggering a bid by its attorney general to freeze the ruling during an appeal.

U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman in Detroit said the state's voter-enacted 2004 constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex unions violates the U.S. constitution's guarantees of equal protection. He issued a decision today two weeks after concluding of a nine-day trial in Detroit federal court.

Friedman, appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan, a Republican, criticized the state's stance that its opposition reflected the preference of the electorate.

"In attempting to define this case as a challenge to 'the will of the people,'" the judge said, "state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people."

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