Update: An earlier version of this post misspelled Judge Joseph Bataillon’s name.

A federal district court judge has blocked Nebraska’s ban on same-sex marriage, setting a 38th state on the likely path to recognizing unions between gay couples.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bataillon ruled in favor of several plaintiffs who sued over the state constitution’s ban, which voters passed by a huge margin in 2000. Bataillon’s ruling will take effect on March 9.

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson (R) filed an appeal to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Other rulings striking down gay marriage bans in Missouri, Arkansas and South Dakota are already pending before the 8th Circuit, which will hear oral arguments in May.

This isn’t Bataillon’s first tangle with Nebraska’s ban. He ruled against the state in 2005, though the 8th Circuit overruled him and reinstated the prohibition in 2006.

Four other Circuit Courts — the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth — have already ruled against gay marriage bans in other states. The Sixth Circuit decided in favor of marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, setting up a showdown before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court said it would hear arguments over same-sex marriage this term. A decision is expected by the end of the court’s term in June.