COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Gov. Nikki Haley's Democratic challenger says South Carolina should `pause' in defending a lawsuit trying to overturn the state's gay marriage ban.

Camden Sen. Vincent Sheheen's statement comes days after a federal appeals court ruled Virginia's similar ban is unconstitutional.

South Carolina is in the same judicial circuit, but Attorney General Alan Wilson said his office will continue defending state law. Haley quickly agreed.

Sheheen's campaign manager said Monday the senator would monitor the proceedings. On Thursday, Sheheen said the state should pause in its legal battles and await a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Petition candidate Tom Ervin said Tuesday that government does not belong in the bedroom and further action wastes taxpayers' money.

All three say they personally believe marriage is between a man and a woman.