A federal judge late Thursday denied North Carolina GOP leaders the 8-day extension they sought as they jumped in to defend the state's ban on gay marriage.

Three cases threaten North Carolina's marriage laws, which include a constitutional amendment, known as Amendment One, approved by voters in 2012 that defines marriage as a heterosexual union.

Two of the cases were placed on hold until a similar lawsuit challenging Virginia's ban was settled.

On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in the case, allowing the Fourth Circuit Court's ruling striking down Virginia's ban to take effect.

The ruling affects all similarly situated states within the court's jurisdiction, including North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.

(Related: West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey ends defense of state's gay marriage ban.)

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Osteen lifted stays on two ACLU of North Carolina cases challenging the state's ban.

House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Phil Berger, both Republicans, moved in to defend the ban, hiring John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), to represent them in their attempt to intervene in the cases. 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.”

In their request to intervene, the lawmakers argued that the Virginia case should not affect North Carolina's cases in part because Virginia's attorney general, Mark Herring, had sided with plaintiff couples and asked for an 8-day extension because “undersigned counsel were recently assigned to this case.”

Osteen gave the lawmakers until noon Friday to file expanded arguments.

The lawmakers, Osteen said Thursday, “allege that additional time is required to 'investigate the files and conduct appropriate research in order to adequately prepare the pleading.'”

But “these cases have been pending for a lengthy period of time and the defendants have been clear in their position” that the cases were tied to the Virginia case.