A Wyoming gay couple who were going it alone in challenging the state's law that bans gay marriage abruptly dropped their challenge on Friday, the AP reported.

David Shupe-Roderick, 25, and Ryan W. Dupree, 21, filed their challenge on August 13 after claiming that the Laramie County Clerk's Office refused three times to issue them a marriage license. A claim the county's clerk, Debbie Lathrop, a defendant in the case, has denied.

The two men said they were representing themselves because they could not afford to hire an attorney.

“I kind of know some about the law, and I know how to research things,” Shupe-Roderick told the Casper Star Tribune. “If I have to do this on my own, I will, because it's a cause I believe in.”

The couple was asking U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson to declare Wyoming's law defining marriage as a contract “between a male and a female person” unconstitutional.

But several Wyoming gay rights activists decried the move, saying the increased visibility of the case would jeopardize years of hard work on other gay rights initiatives, including a gay protections law.

Activists also worried that the men were not an ideal couple. Shupe-Roderick served four years in the Wyoming State Penitentiary for driving off in a rented car. Authorities retrieved the car in Arkansas. Shupe-Roderick also has a history of litigation. He's filed five other lawsuits in the past three years.

The social conservative group WyWatch Family Action, which supports putting a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in the Wyoming Constitution, said the aborted lawsuit served as “a wake up call.”

The group's Becky Vandeberghe said the challenge had raised awareness and support for the constitutional ban.

“It has raised awareness of the issue in the political world, as far as elections and where candidates stand,” she said.

A 2008 WyWatch Family Action commissioned poll of 509 registered voters found a large majority (74%) of respondents support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. However, the poll relied heavily on the opinions of registered Republicans, who, on average, are more likely to oppose marriage equality. According to a New York Times poll, 63 percent of Wyomingites oppose gay marriage.