1Appeal lodged after California gay marriage ban overturned .
2Opponents of same-sex marriage formally challenged on Thursday a decision to overturn California 's ban on gay weddings , launching an appeals process expected to end up before the US Supreme Court .
3US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Wednesday in favor of activists who argued that a state referendum which barred gays and lesbians from tying the knot was discriminatory and therefore violated the US Constitution .
4The referendum , known as Proposition 8 , was passed by a 52 percent majority in November 2008 , only six months after California 's Supreme Court overturned a previous ban on same-sex weddings , sending gays and lesbians flocking to marry .
5Socially conservative opponents of same-sex weddings reacted furiously to the decision , accusing Walker -- who is gay -- of allowing his sexual orientation to influence his ruling .
6Randy Thomasson of the Campaign for Children and Families -LRB- SaveCalifornia.com -RRB- described the decision as a `` terrible blow '' to voter rights .
7`` Judge Walker has ignored the written words of the Constitution , which he swore to support and defend and be impartially faithful to , and has instead imposed his own homosexual agenda upon the voters , the parents and the children of California , '' Thomasson said .
8The president of the American Family Association , Tim Wildmon , meanwhile accused Walker of a `` tyrannical , abusive and utterly unconstitutional display of judicial arrogance . ''
9Legal experts believe the case is almost certain to end up before the US Supreme Court in around two years time , once appeals hearings in lower courts have run their course .
10In his opinion released on Wednesday , Walker ruled that Proposition 8 failed to `` advance any rational basis '' to deny gay men and lesbians marriage licenses .
11`` Indeed the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples , '' Walker wrote .
12`` Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligations to provide marriages on an equal basis , the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional . ''
13Walker later issued a ruling granting a temporary stay of his order until Friday , allowing opponents of same-sex marriage time to file their appeals , a move that appeared to prevent an immediate resumption of weddings between gays and lesbians in the most populous US state .
14Walker is expected to decide whether same-sex weddings can resume in California by Friday .
15A crowd of several hundred people celebrated Walker 's decision in Los Angeles ' gay enclave of West Hollywood late Wednesday .