By calling it an issue for the people, not the courts. From the opinion (pdf):
When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers. Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.
In her dissent, Judge Martha Daughtrey called bullshit on the majority’s reasoning.
Wow, dissenting 6th Circ judge Daughtrey has essentially accused her colleagues of betraying their oaths. Last line: http://t.co/qO9jbNX89P
— Dan Levine (@FedcourtJunkie) November 6, 2014
Here’s that last line, in context:
More than 20 years ago, when I took my oath of office to serve as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, I solemnly swore to “administer justice without respect to persons,” to “do equal right to the poor and to the rich,” and to “faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me . . . under the Constitution and laws of the United States.” See 28 U.S.C. § 453. If we in the judiciary do not have the authority, and indeed the responsibility, to right fundamental wrongs left excused by a majority of the electorate, our whole intricate, constitutional system of checks and balances, as well as the oaths to which we swore, prove to be nothing but shams.
More analysis from Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed.
Update: More analysis from Geidner here, including what the lawyers plan to do next.