Lawmakers in North Carolina on Monday vowed to “formally defend” the state's ban on gay marriage.

North Carolina's ban remains in place but is threatened by the Supreme Court's decision not to hear appeals in five cases challenging bans in Utah, Virginia, Indiana, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Virginia and North Carolina are under the jurisdiction of the same appellate court.

Marriage equality advocates said Monday they would ask a federal judge to lift the state's ban.

In a joint news release, General Assembly leaders Thom Tillis and Phil Berger, both Republicans who supported passage of the state's constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union, announced they would defend the ban in court.

“The people of North Carolina have spoken, and while the Supreme Court has not issued a definitive ruling on the issue of traditional marriage, we are hopeful they will soon,” they said. “Until then, we will vigorously defend the values of our state and the will of the more than 60 percent of North Carolina voters who made it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

According to the AP, a spokeswoman for Berger said the lawmakers are “in the process of exploring their options” and plan to hire outside counsel.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, announced in July he would no longer defend the ban, saying “there are really no arguments left to be made.”

Republican Governor Pat McCrory said in a statement that he disagrees with the Supreme Court's decision and that “we will continue to respect the legal process as it proceeds.”