Eladio Jose Armesto, chairman of the Florida Democracy League, on Wednesday compared overturning Florida's ban on gay marriage to a KKK lynching.

Armesto, a leading opponent of marriage equality, made his comments to reporters outside the courthouse where a federal judge was hearing arguments in a challenge to Florida's restrictive marriage ban.

“Her judgment would be null and void,” Armesto said of the judge striking down the ban. “No one can rule against the constitution. She would be doing no more or no less than the Ku Klux Klan did in the early part of the last century, where they hanged people for going out to vote. The people of Florida have voted. The judge is able to respect that vote, uphold the rule of law and uphold the constitution.”

Florida voters in 2008 approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union.

“This is nothing more than a judicial lynching of the people of Florida. This is a mockery of justice, it's a travesty. The judge should have thrown this lawsuit out because it violates her authority, her dignity, and her integrity as a member of the judiciary,” he added.

Democratic leaders criticized Armesto's comments.

“I am deeply disturbed by the comments made in an apparent attempted intimidation of the judiciary,” said state Senator Christopher L. Smith. “They have no place in our community or our judicial system.”

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings called Armesto's comments “completely outrageous.”

“We must not let the pages of history turn backwards on equality for all Americans,” he said. “It is high time that we afford all individuals the same rights, benefits and protections, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”