California GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman criticized Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney Jerry Brown, her Democratic rival for governor, for not defending the state's gay marriage ban, known as Proposition 8, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In remarks made hours before speaking at the opening of the state's three-day GOP convention in San Diego, Whitman made it clear that as governor she would have handled the situation differently.

She said the men have an obligation to defend the Constitution and to “enable the judicial process to go along.”

“So if I was governor, I would give that ruling standing to be able to appeal to the circuit court,” she said Friday.

Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, was referring to a recent federal judge's ruling that struck down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. An appeals court put the ruling on hold last week as proponents attempt to overturn the ruling.

Protect Marriage, the sponsor of the measure, jumped in to defend the law after Schwarzenegger and Brown, the named defendants, declined to do so. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), the California Catholic Conference and various evangelical churches came together to form Protect Marriage after the California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Voters narrowly approved the measure in November, 2008.

District Judge Vaughn Walker concluded that as a third party to the case, the group would need to prove standing in order to pursue an appeal. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments in December.

Whitman has previously said she does not support giving gay men and lesbians the right to marry.

Whitman and Brown have been neck-and-neck since September in their pursuit to take over the reins from outgoing Schwarzenegger. According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Brown leads with a slim 2 points.