CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Federal appeals judges in Cincinnati handed down a long-awaited ruling on Thursday that will uphold same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan.
This 64-page ruling comes on the heels of arguments in August in front of the judges. Attorneys are now expected to ask the Supreme Court to hear their arguments.
"This is more than a bump in the road. This is a ruling from the highest court, the 6th circuit court of appeals, saying that they're second-class citizens," said Jennifer Branch, an attorney for some of the Ohio plaintiffs.
Branch's firm represents several individuals whose cases were of the six argued in front of those judges. She says her clients are crushed by the 2-1 ruling.
"They're really shocked that here in Ohio they're going to be told that they can't get married, that their marriages don't count," Branch said.
In the 64-page ruling, Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton, who wrote the majority opinion, indicated changing marriage laws should be up to citizens to decide.
"When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers. Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way."
"It's the oldest institution on the face of the earth. Marriage is the bedrock of America. Every child deserves a mom and a dad," said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values.
Burress adds, "These judges ruled correctly in saying that this is a state's rights issue. The people of Ohio are the ones that should decide this issue."
The decision from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is split from other appeals courts nationwide as four courts have recently ruled that states have no right to ban gay marriage.
"We know the end is in sight. We are going to win marriage equality in Ohio. It's just a question of how soon," said Mike Premo of Why Marriage Matters Ohio.
How soon will a final decision come, one way or another? It's an answer likely headed to the highest court in the land, for them to decide who can, and cannot get married.
"We're also going to get on the phone to the lawyers from Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee and urge them to all file their petitions promptly," said Al Gerhardstein, who represents some of the Ohio plaintiffs.
They have a 90-day period to appeal. After that, the Supreme Court will have 30 days to respond.