WASHINGTON — In spite of the Oct. 6 Supreme Court decision to decline review of lower court appeals involving state bans on same-sex marriage, the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, public policy arm of the state’s bishops, made it clear that no court can change Catholic teaching on marriage.

In a statement issued shortly after the court declined to review the cases, the WCC issued the following:

“As we made it clear in commenting on the ruling by the Court of Appeals, no court can change our Catholic teaching on marriage and no one is suggesting that the ruling will have that effect. Catholic churches are under no obligation to solemnize marriages that are inconsistent with our religious teaching.”

Rulings that overturned state bans on same-sex marriage in five states, including Wisconsin, will be allowed to take effect, after the Supreme Court declined to consider appeals of seven lower court rulings that such prohibitions are unconstitutional.

Another half-dozen states in the same appellate court jurisdictions also are likely to begin allowing such marriages. But the high court’s refusal to hear the cases does not translate to a nationwide mandate for all states to follow them.

The action effectively allows same-sex marriages to begin in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin as soon as lower courts lift temporary stays that were imposed while appeals went to the Supreme Court.

Six other states within the same three federal circuit court jurisdictions would fall under those appellate rulings and likely also will begin allowing such marriages, bringing to 30 the number of states that allow same-sex couples to wed.

The Wisconsin Catholic Conference also noted that “the challenge facing Catholics remains the same as it has always been, to witness our belief in marriage and what it signifies in a way that invites others to share in our belief. We must do so with a strong and active voice.”

In 89 pages of orders issued the first day of the court’s 2014 term, the court rejected appeals in seven cases in which federal courts had said laws prohibiting same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. The court issued the orders without comment.

The justices’ decision not to take up any of the cases came as a surprise to legal observers. The high court typically does not take up cases with nationwide implications unless there are conflicting lower court rulings. But in each of the seven marriage cases, both the winning and losing sides had asked the court to review the lower court decisions, to help clarify the overall situation.

While supporters of laws allowing same-sex marriage hailed the result of the court’s decision to bypass the cases, some opponents called on Congress to act.

A statement from the chairmen of two committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said they were disappointed that the court didn’t take up the cases.

“All of these state laws were democratically enacted, including most by the direct vote of large majorities within just the last decade,” said the Oct. 6 statement from Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. “Millions of Americans had looked to the court with hope that these unjust judicial decisions might be reversed.”

“The Supreme Court’s action fails to resolve immediately the injustice of marriage redefinition, and therefore should be of grave concern to our entire nation,” the bishops said.

While Catholic teaching opposes discrimination against homosexuals, the church holds that homosexual acts are always immoral and that marriage can only be a union between one man and one woman.

In a teleconference Oct. 6, Ted Olsen, former U.S. solicitor general and now attorney for the Virginia couple who sued for the right to marry, said the court’s decision not to take up any of the cases means a faster track to more states permitting same-sex marriages. Had the court accepted any of the seven cases, it would have meant a final ruling from the Supreme Court would likely come in the spring.

The Family Research Council, which also opposes same-sex marriage, said in a statement from president Tony Perkins that the court’s action is “in part, an indication that those on the court who desire to redefine natural marriage recognize the country will not accept a Roe v. Wade type decision on marriage.”

Perkins called on Congress to advance a bill called the State Marriage Defense Act, “which is consistent with last year’s Windsor ruling and ensures that the federal government in its definition of marriage respects the duly enacted marriage laws of the states.”

(Maryangela Layman Román contributed to this story.)