California's Supreme Court has upheld a ban on same-sex marriages that voters voters passed in November.
The ruling by the court allows about 18,000 same-sex marriages performed before the ban to remain valid.
Four states -- Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Iowa -- currently allow same-sex marriages.
Proposition 8 passed in the 2008 general election with about 52.5 percent of the vote. California had been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples since the state Supreme Court ruled in May 2008 that the unions were legal.
Leaders of three Catholic groups that support gay rights in the Catholic church -- DignityUSA, New Ways Ministry and Call To Action -- issued a statmente saying the court deciscion "greieved them."
Nicole Sotelo, Communications Director of Call To Action (and a columnists for NCRonline.org), said, "We are grieved by the California's Supreme Court decision to allow equality to be taken from families throughout California. Now we know that basic principles of freedom and equality can be voted away."
Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA's Executive Director, said, "It is tragic for everyone in California that discriminatory language that has been allowed to stand in the state's constitution. We call for the elimination of language that limits civil marriage to opposite-sex couples. DignityUSA pledges to continue to work to educate people about the importance of marriage equality, and will continue to offer spiritual and emotional support to gays and lesbians and our families in the face of this temporary loss. We urge a peaceful response, and a renewed commitment to justice in the face of this decision."
Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry, added, "This ruling was not just about marriage, this ruling was about the human family and human rights. Nobody should be excluded from basic rights or have those rights taken away. Our faith tells us that of all human virtues, the 'greatest of these is love.' As people of faith, we are called to support love. Today, the courts took away the freedom to marry from same-sex couples. Today, love has lost."
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