RALEIGH (AP) — Lawyers for several gay couples say in a legal filing that North Carolina's Republican legislative leaders shouldn't be allowed to appeal rulings that legalized gay marriage in the state.

In a filing Friday in federal court, lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union challenge the ability of House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger to intervene.

Federal judges in Greensboro and Asheville have ruled that the state's now-defunct gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.

A request to intervene by Berger and Tillis was granted by the federal judge in Greensboro. The GOP leaders then issued formal notice that they plan to appeal.

Tillis was elected this month to the U.S. Senate.