Tony Perkins, president of the Christian conservative Family Research Council (FRC), criticized a federal judge's ruling striking down Alabama's ban on gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade ruled that an Alabama law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples and a similar constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2006 were unconstitutional.

Alabama has asked Granade to stay her ruling pending the outcome of a similar case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

(Related: Alabama asks judge to stay gay marriage ruling.)

“This federal judge is throwing out the votes of the people of Alabama and attempting to shut down the debate over marriage,” Perkins said in a statement.

“It is time that the courts respect the freedom of the people to uphold the timeless and natural definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”

“There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that empowers this federal judge to overturn Alabama's marriage amendment nor any basis for the U.S. Supreme Court to impose a 50 state same-sex 'marriage' mandate,” he added.

Meanwhile, Republican officials in the state also criticized the decision.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said in a tweet he was “disappointed by the ruling,” while Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard called it “outrageous.”

“It is outrageous when a single unelected and unaccountable federal judge can overturn the will of millions of Alabamians who stand in firm support of the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment,” he said.

BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner disputed Hubbard's claim, pointing out in a tweet that fewer than 700,000 people voted in 2006 to constitutionally exclude gay couples from marriage.