Anti-gay activist John Stemberger has criticized an appeals court's decision which most likely paves the way for gay couples to begin marrying in Florida next month.

A 3-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday refused to block implementation of a lower court's ruling ordering Florida to begin issuing marriage licenses and recognizing the out-of-state marriages of gay couples starting on January 6. Florida officials can appeal to the Supreme Court.

Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, strongly lobbied for passage of Florida's ban. He lamented Wednesday's decision in a Facebook post.

“The court today is wrong,” he wrote. “The courts will never have the final word on an institution as fundamental to the human experience as marriage. You simply cannot build a civilization without natural marriage.”

He added that allowing gay couples to marry would harm children and vowed to “never give up on this issue” even “if it takes 20, 30, or 50 years.”

“Today, we grieve … for the children who now have no chance of growing up with both a mom and a dad. We mourn the loss of a culture and its ethical foundation. We mourn for a culture that continues to turn its back on timeless principles.”

“We may grieve today, but we will not despair. We will not throw in the towel. We will not give up,” he said.

In July, Stemberger said that he was prepared to lay down his life fighting to keep the ban.