Opponents of Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban, have asked a federal court to deny a request by supporters for a rehearing on its ruling that found the amendment to be unconstitutional, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Last month, a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling declaring that the 2008 voter-approved amendment violated the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples who wish to marry. Writing for the 2-judge majority, Judge Stephen Reinhardt said that there was no legitimate reason for the ban. However, the court did not rule on the broader question of whether gay couples have the right to marry.

The sponsors of Prop 8 asked the court to review the ruling, which would broaden the number of judges considering the case from 3 to 11. Their lawyers argued that the ruling neglected to take into account California's domestic partner law, which gives gay couples all the protections of marriage. “Californians' solicitude for both traditional marriage and the rights of committed same-sex couples,” was shown in Prop 8, supporters said.

Analysts believe supporters are attempting to broaden the court's ruling to say that gay couples have a Constitutional right to marry before going to the Supreme Court. The high court is more likely to hear such a case and gay marriage advocates would also have more to lose.