Appleton, Wis. (WFRV) A celebration outside the U.S. Supreme Court after justices handed down a landmark ruling for same-sex couples. By a 5-4 vote, the court ruled that same-sex couples nationwide have the right to marry in all 50 states.

This historic decision has many supporters and many critics. The president of a conservative Christian group says the institution of marriage has forever changed. A church leader in Appleton says it’s about time.

As same-sex couples celebrated the Supreme Court ruling nationwide, Reverend Jane Anderson took it all in – well aware of the significance of this day.

“We’ve been hoping this would happen over the last years and now this debate is finally ended,” said Anderson.

For years the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Appleton has been supporting same-sex unions. Marrying many couples since gay marriage became legal in Wisconsin last year. Anderson says the high court ruling gives those individuals full marriage equality and new peace of mind.

“What this now means is they have equal rights and protection under the law – so important to them,” said Rev. Anderson.

Yet while celebrated by one progressive Christian church – those leaning far to the Christian right call the ruling arrogant.

“What they’ve done has made marriage all about adult desires and that’s a dangerous path,” said Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Action. Appling says the union of one man and one woman – is the foundation of society and is far outside of this court’s authority.

“They are acting on an institution that predates all forms of government, all laws, all constitutions – marriage is not theirs to redefine,” said Appling.

She calls this redefinition of marriage an assault on religious freedom, the start in a new chapter in this long debate.

“I’m certainly disappointed,” Appling said.

Anderson instead says the ruling settles one of the key civil rights fights of the modern era.

“Hopefully the Supreme Court decision ends any further adjudication,” said Anderson.

The U.S. is now the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage.