Kalamazoo Bishop Paul J. Bradley has criticized a federal judge's ruling striking down Michigan's nearly 10-year ban on gay marriage.

Gay and lesbian couples started marrying on Saturday, one day after U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman declared the state's ban invalid.

(Related: Gay couples begin marrying in Michigan.)

“The decision handed down today by Federal District Court Judge Bernard Friedman in the case of DeBoer vs. Snyder is unfortunate and regrettable,” Bradley said in a written statement. “With the stroke of a pen, the meaning of marriage, one of society’s most sacred institutions and the very foundation of the family, has been redefined in our state. As a result of this decision, the amendment to the Michigan constitution, which reflected the understanding of the majority of the citizens of this State, and which was designed to protect the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, has been undone by judicial decision.”

“No matter how the courts or other secular institutions choose to attempt to refashion such a foundational institution of society as marriage, our Catholic faith consistently upholds the understanding, rooted in Natural law and Divine design, that marriage is a lifelong partnership of love and fidelity between one man and one woman, ordered for the mutual support of the spouses and the procreation of children if possible. A couple whose marriage is blessed and made holy through the Sacrament of Matrimony reflects the saving love of Jesus for His Bride, the Church.

“As the merit of this case continues to be argued, it provides us the opportunity to proclaim both the Catholic Church’s position against unjust discrimination aimed at all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation, as well as the sacredness of traditional marriage. While our faith teaches us to treat individuals with same-sex attraction with respect, compassion and sensitivity, we also are called to defend the divine institution of marriage between one man and one woman.”