Supporters of Proposition 8 have criticized Tuesday's ruling declaring the gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down its long-awaited decision to the cheers of gay marriage supporters.

(Related: Court says gay marriage ban Prop 8 violates 14th amendment.)

“This is a huge win for freedom to marry supporters in California and continues the growing momentum for the freedom to marry nationwide,” Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, said in a statement.

“Proposition 8 divided California into marriage haves and have nots,” said Stuart Gaffney, media director for Marriage Equality USA. “Today, the court has reaffirmed what we already know in our hearts – our United States Constitution prohibits taking away the fundamental right to marry from one particular group. Everyone deserves the freedom to marry the one you love.”

Supporters of the ban vowed to defend Proposition 8.

“This is a stunning assault on democracy and California's initiative process,” said Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resources Group, a group which supported passage of Proposition 8. “Well over 50% of California voters approved Proposition 8; today their will was overturned by a panel of arrogant judges who want to impose their political agenda on the rest of us.”

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst at the Christian conservative group Focus on the Family, called the ruling a “disappointment.”

“[B]ut it was not entirely unexpected, given the record of the 9th Circuit.”

“Opponents of Prop 8 insist on changing the definition of marriage for everyone, including children who deserve the opportunity to grow up in a home with their own married mother and father,” Hausknecht said. “But no judge has the right to redefine marriage. … This latest tinkering with marriage to remove mothers and fathers as an essential element of family poses serious ramifications for future generations.”