Missouri on Friday appealed a federal judge's ruling striking down the state's ban on gay marriage.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith declared the state's ban unconstitutional but stayed his ruling pending an appeal.

Attorney General Chris Koster asked the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse Smith's decision.

Plaintiffs in the case are two gay couples, Angela Curtis and Shannon McGinty and Kyle Lawson and Evan Dahlgren, who wish to marry in Missouri but were denied a marriage licenses in June.

Smith handed down his ruling two days after a state judge knocked down Missouri's ban, allowing gay couples to begin marrying in St. Louis, and a month after a judge in a separate case ordered officials to recognize the out-of-state marriages of gay couples.

Koster, a Democrat, decided against pursuing an appeal in the recognition case.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey and House Speaker Tim Jones, both Republicans, have asked to intervene in the case so that they can appeal it to the state Supreme Court.