By Dan Levine
(Reuters) - Two California couples asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to refuse to hear an appeal by gay marriage foes, an outcome that would let same-sex marriage stand in the nation's most populous state.
Two lower courts have struck down the 2008 ban known as Proposition 8, and last month backers of the measure asked the Supreme Court to step in.
Their request came a week after the high court was asked to review a separate Massachusetts case challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.
The two petitions moved the politically charged issue of marriage rights for gay men and lesbians one step closer to a potential review by the Supreme Court in the weeks before the November 6 U.S. presidential election.
President Barack Obama turned gay marriage into a 2012 campaign issue in May when he came out in support of the right of same-sex couples to wed. His Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, disagrees.
After California voters passed Proposition 8, a San Francisco federal judge struck down the ban as unconstitutional, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.
In a court filing on Friday, lawyers for the California gay couples acknowledged the Proposition 8 case could be an "attractive vehicle" for the Supreme Court to resolve the issue.
However, high court review is "not warranted," they argued, because the 9th Circuit had already "scrupulously" applied the correct legal precedent.
A representative for Proposition 8 supporters could not immediately be reached for comment.
The case in the Supreme Court of the United States is Dennis Hollingsworth et al. vs. Kristin Perry et al., 12-144.
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)