Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich on Tuesday criticized a ruling declaring unconstitutional California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down its long-awaited decision to the cheers of gay marriage supporters. Opponents vowed to defend the amendment narrowly approved by voters in 2008 which ended the weddings of gay and lesbian couples taking place in the state after the California Supreme Court legalized the institution.

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

In its 2-1 decision, the court's majority wrote that it was only deciding on California's specific circumstances, where Prop 8 overturned previously established rights.

Supporters from other states, however, said the ruling gave their movement momentum.

Santorum forwarded a tweet from conservative journalist Michelle Malkin, which read: “Given the opportunity, the 9th Circus would strike down the Constitutional as unconstitutional.”

He later added: “7M Californians had their rights stripped away today by activist 9th Circuit judges. As president I will work to protect marriage.”

Gingrich offered harsher words for the ruling.

“Court of Appeals overturning CA's Prop 8 another example of an out of control judiciary. Let's end judicial supremacy,” he tweeted to his more than 1.4 million followers.

(Related: Mitt Romney blasts Prop 8 ruling.)