Dozens of Republican lawmakers are calling on Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to appoint legal counsel to defend the state's ban on gay marriage.

Delegate Bob Marshall, an architect of the state's 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment which defines marriage as a heterosexual union, and 31 other state lawmakers signed a letter Friday urging McAuliffe, a Democrat who supports marriage equality, to intervene.

(Related: Virginia's Terry McAuliffe issues transgender-inclusive anti-discrimination order.)

“Our attorney just quit on us,” Delegate C. Todd Gilbert told The Washington Post. “I guess we need someone to stand up for us in court.”

Gilbert was referring to Attorney General Mark Herring, who on Thursday announced that his office would support the efforts of two plaintiff couples challenging the ban. In response to Herring's announcement, the judge in the case asked parties whether a trial was necessary. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday, January 30.

All but one of the signatories to the letter were Republican.

In a separate but related development, a Virginia House panel fast-tracked a bill that would give lawmakers standing to defend laws when the state's top elected officials refuse.

Herring spokesman Michael Kelly said the ban was being defended by the clerks of Prince William and Norfolk counties.

“The case doesn't stop because of the state's change of position,” Kelly said. “The case will continue.”