In a widely anticipated move, the Utah Attorney General's Office asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to block a lower court's order declaring the state's gay marriage ban invalid.

On December 20, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby struck down Amendment 3, the 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment which prohibited the state from recognizing any union other than a heterosexual union.

The state has scrambled to block the ruling, but four requests to three judges, including two at the appellate level, were denied.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who oversees the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, will review the state's 25-page application for a stay.

More than 1,000 gay and lesbian couples have married in the state in the wake of the ruling.

“And each one is an affront not only to the interests of the state and its citizens in being able to define marriage through ordinary democratic channels, but also to this court's unique role as a final arbiter for the profoundly important constitutional question it so carefully preserved in Windsor,” the application stated, referring to the June ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

“By contrast, this case involves not just a refusal by the federal government to accommodate a state's definition of marriage, but an outright abrogation of such a definition – by a single federal court wielding a federal injunction and acting under the banner of the federal Constitution.”