U.S. District Court Judge Alan Kay upheld Hawaii's ban on same-sex marriage in a ruling Wednesday in Honolulu federal court.
The ruling came in a lawsuit between two women and a man against Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the state health director.
The women sued the governor and the state health director because they were refused a marriage license in November, calling it unconstitutional.
In April, the Christian group Hawaii Family Forum was granted intervenor status in the case.
Kay's ruling on Wednesday said that no same-sex couples have been married in Hawaii nor have ever had the right to do so. So, the legislature's amendment and Hawaii's marriage amendment did not take away from same-sex couples the designation of marriage while leaving in place all of its incidents, since Hawaii, unlike California, did not have a civil unions law at the time the legislature made the amendment and when Hawaii residents ratified the marriage amendment.
The ruling also says that Hawaii's marriage laws do not treat males and females differently as a class, so the laws do not discriminate on the basis of gender.
Kay says that if the traditional institution of marriage is to be restructured, it is to be done by a democratically-elected legislature or the people through a constitutional amendment, not through judicial legislation.
Gov. Abercrombie released this statement:
"I respectfully disagree and will join the Plaintiffs if they appeal this decision. To refuse individuals the right to marry on the basis of sexual orientation or gender is discrimination in light of our civil unions law. For me this is about fairness and equality."
"This ruling affirms that protecting and strengthening marriage as a union of one man and one woman is legitimate, reasonable, and good for society," said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Dale Schowengerdt. "The people of Hawaii adopted a constitutional amendment to uphold marriage, and the court rightly concluded that the democratic process shouldn’t be short-circuited by judicial decree."
James Walther with the state Department of the Attorney General said, "One team represents the governor and one team represents Director (Loretta) Fuddy in this case. Each team is reviewing and evaluating Judge Kay's decision respectively, and will be talking to their clients."