The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday struck down a Texas law that had required people to marry someone of the same gender, but allowed them to get married with the permission of a religious group.
The ruling means Texas cannot enact its law in the next few months, leaving the state’s gay marriage movement to wait for a federal appeals court to take its case.
“It’s the culmination of many years of work,” said David Boies, president of the liberal legal group Boies Schiller Flexner, who represented the plaintiffs.
“It’s not a question of if, but when, the court will step in.”
Boeis said his group, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, is appealing the ruling to the U.C.L.A.A., which would decide whether the law violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Boes Schiller and the other plaintiffs argued that the law was designed to protect religious freedom and that the Texas law violated the First Amendment.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was “disappointed” by the decision, which the state had opposed.
Greg Abbott, who signed the law into law last year, said he plans to sign the ruling.
His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a letter to the judge, Paxton called the law “an unconstitutional and burdensome law that would violate the rights of all Texans.”
“I intend to appeal this decision,” he wrote.
As part of a lawsuit filed in 2015, a federal judge in Houston ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and to allow gay couples to wed in Texas.
Under the law, Texas could not make changes to the law that made it unconstitutional.
The court, in a 4-3 decision, said the law did not create an “undue burden” on religious freedoms.
Gay marriage was legal in Texas for more than 20 years before the ruling, and many of the state Supreme Court justices have also taken a stand on the issue.
Opponents of gay marriage argued the law created a “hostile climate” for people of faith to hold religious beliefs, and said it would result in people being punished for their religious beliefs.
On Friday, U.K.-based Christian charity Saddleback Christian Centre and its partner, the United Methodist Church, said it was also appealing the court’s ruling.