Michigan officials on Monday asked the Supreme Court to take a case challenging the state's ban on gay marriage.

Plaintiff couple Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer challenged the state's 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. The women are raising three adopted children they were forced to adopt individually because state law only allows married couples to adopt jointly and prohibits same-sex couples from marrying.

U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman sided with the couple in March and struck down the ban as unconstitutional. But a split 3-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati reversed the ruling, upholding Michigan's ban and similar bans in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Plaintiffs in the case appealed to the Supreme Court.

In its 32-page brief, the state argues that the U.S. Constitution leaves the issue for voters to decide.

“Michigan fully recognizes that the state democratic process must yield if the majority adopts a policy that conflicts with the U.S. Constitution. But this is not such a case. The Constitution does not define marriage; rather it leaves that task to voters at the state level.”

“This case comes down to two words: Who decides,” lawyers added in defending the ban. “The history of our democracy demonstrates the wisdom of allowing the people to decide important issues at the ballot box, rather than ceding those decisions to unelected judges.”