Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Thursday filed a notice of an appeal in federal court on Thursday challenging a ruling last month by a US district judge that declared the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

US District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Florida's Northern District in Tallahassee last month became the fifth judge in Florida to rule against the ban, which was approved by voters in 2008, and the first on the state's federal bench.

The Attorney General's office filed the appeal notice on behalf of three defendants, a court clerk along with two members of the state government - Florida's Secretary of Management Services Craig Nichols and state Surgeon General John Armstrong. The notice of appeal did not cite specific legal grounds.

Hinkle found that the prohibition on gay nuptials violated equal protection and due process protections under the US Constitution.

Nearly 30 state and federal courts have ruled against same-sex marriage bans since last year's US Supreme Court ruling striking down parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

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