Plaintiffs in a case challenging Utah's gay marriage ban have until Friday to file a response to the state's application to the U.S. Supreme Court for it to block a lower court's ruling declaring the ban invalid.

On Tuesday, the Utah Attorney General's Office filed its fifth request for a stay in the ruling as an appeal moves forward. U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby, who issued the ruling on December 20, and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the state's previous request.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who oversees the 10th Circuit, gave plaintiffs in the case, three gay couples, until noon EST on Friday to respond.

In its 25-page application, Utah officials argued that allowing gay couples to marry before a final ruling is reached would cause “irreparable harm” to them and their families.

“The State's responsibility for the welfare of all its citizens makes it relevant, as well, that Respondents and any other same-sex couples who choose to marry during the period before the Tenth Circuit and this Court resolve this dispute on the merits will likely be irreparably harmed without a stay. They and their children will likely suffer dignitary and financial losses from the invalidation of their marriages if appellate review affirms the validity of Utah's marriage laws,” the state wrote.

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