Same-sex marriage supporters vow to appeal a ruling that upholds a ban on same-sex marriages in Louisiana.
The ruling is a setback for supporters who have been on a winning streak in recent months to get same-sex marriages recognized across the country. They gathered quickly on Federal Court steps.
"We are deeply disappointed with the decision today," said Mary Griggs with the Forum for Equality.
After a federal judge struck down an effort to throw out Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage, the Forum for Equality lashed out.
"We're definitely surprised, but we're gonna move forward," said Sarah Jane Brady, also with the Forum.
Two months ago, same-sex marriage supporters asked Judge Martin Feldman to throw out Louisiana's 10-year-old ban, in part because they say it was founded in bigotry.
"Anyone who was part of that campaign against lesbian and gay couples in Louisiana knows how much animosity there was," said Griggs.
But Judge Feldman ruled that the state has the right to define marriage, "As between a man and a woman...and the limitation on recognition of same sex marriages do not infringe the guarantees of the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution."
The judge also found that "Perhaps some day same gender marriage will become part of this country's history and tradition, but that is not a choice this court should make."
Supporters of same-sex marriage in Louisiana say Feldman's ruling is especially disappointing when you consider national trends to the contrary. At least 20 other states have upheld gay marriage.
"This is the first decision that I'm aware of a federal judge upholding a same-sex marriage ban," said Forum for Equality attorney Dalton Courson.
Reactions on the street were mixed.
"Just when you think you take a few steps forward, you take a few steps back," said Bob Brune of New Orleans.
While Frank Eftekhar said, "The marriage should be strictly between the man and a woman, because anything else is the downfall of society."
Feldman didn't say same-sex marriage was wrong, he only said that Louisiana and it's voters have a right to define marriage. He also found that other federal court decisions in support of same sex marriage exemplify a "pageant of empathy," and he suggested that approving same-sex marriage could lead to marriages of relatives such as an aunt and a nephew.
Feldman also ruled not to recognize gay marriages legally performed in other states.
Supporters of same-sex marriage say they will appeal the judge's ruling to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.