The Family Foundation of Kentucky has claimed that a judge has declared ‘martial law’ by striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Declaring the marriage ban unconstitutional yesterday, US District Judge John Heyburn wrote: “In America, even sincere and long-hold religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted.”

Kent Ostrander, executive director of the Family Foundation of Kentucky – which led the campaign for the original constitutional amendment in 2004 – said today: “For all practical purposes, Judge G. Heyburn has declared martial law on marriage policy in Kentucky.

“This just underscores the fact that we have become a nation of judges rather than a nation of laws. It’s no longer ‘we the people, of the people, by the people and for the people.’ It’s all about the judges and their opinions.”

Martin Cothran, a senior policy analyst with The Family Foundation, said: “The judge cited ‘doctrinal developments’ by other federal judges that ignored judicial precedent in favor of traditional marriage laws as a reason for invalidating our law. This raises the ‘everybody else is doing it’ principle to a judicial doctrine.

“By taking another important area of policy out of the hands of voters, liberal judges have struck another blow against the separation of powers that is an underlying principle of our form of government.”

Despite the group’s claim that ‘liberal judges’ are responsible for the wave in pro-equal marriage rulings, a Bush-appointed judge endorsed by anti-gay Republican Rick Santorum reached the same conclusion in Pennsylvania in May.

The decision will go to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is also set to review federal decisions on same-sex marriage cases in Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.