Tony Perkins, president of the Christian conservative Family Research Council (FRC), praised a federal appeals court ruling upholding gay marriage bans in four states.

In a split 2-1 decision, a 3-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld bans in four states: Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

(Related: Appeals court upholds gay marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee.)

The court's decision creates a split between appellate courts, making it likely that the Supreme Court will consider one, several or all of the cases overturned by the Sixth Circuit.

“We applaud the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for upholding the freedom of the people to define marriage as the union of a man and woman,” Perkins said in a statement. “The Sixth Circuit rightly recognizes that the Constitution does not demand that this modern redefinition of marriage be forced on the States. The American people simply will not accept a nationwide redefinition of marriage imposed on them by a judicial oligarchy. As the debate continues, recent polls and the election demonstrate that support for marriage redefinition is stalling as Americans begin to experience and consider the consequences for religious freedom, free speech, and parental rights.”

“Where marriage is redefined, parents are increasingly finding a wedge being driven between them and their children as school curricula is changed to contradict the morals parents are teaching their children. And as more and more people lose their livelihoods because they refuse to not just tolerate but celebrate same-sex marriage, many Americans are beginning to see that this is about far more than the marriage alter, but is about fundamentally altering society,” he added.

The ruling comes a day after the start of marriages for gay couples in St. Louis, Missouri.