A court has rejected a Christian-based legal group's effort to force California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown to appeal a federal district court ruling that found the state's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, unconstitutional, the AP reported.

Without explanation, the Third District Court of Appeals in Sacramento on Wednesday denied the Pacific Justice Institute's request to force the officials to defend the law.

Last month, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled the measure, narrowly approved by voters in 2008, violated the U.S. Constitution. Proposition 8 put an end to the gay weddings taking place in California after the state's Supreme Court legalized the institution.

Social conservatives are increasingly worried that they'll lose their case on a technicality.

Proposition 8's sponsor, Protect Marriage, a coalition of social conservative groups that includes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), the California Catholic Conference and various evangelical churches, intervened to defend the law after the suit's named defendants, Schwarzenegger and Brown, refused.

But doubts have been raised about whether the group has legal standing to appeal the ruling as ordinary citizens.

The Republican governor is also being pressured by Republican lawmakers to defend the law. Twenty-seven members of the Assembly's Republican caucus have written to Schwarzenegger urging him to act.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has put the decision on hold and scheduled oral arguments for the second week in December.

The state has until September 11 to file an appeal.