Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie has said he won't defend the state's gay marriage ban in court, Courthouse News reported.

Two women who were refused a marriage license in Hawaii named Abercrombie and the Hawaii Department of Health as defendants in their federal lawsuit filed a month before the state's civil unions law went into effect on January 1, 2012.

Natasha N. Jackson and Janin Kleid claim they were denied a marriage license on November 18, 2011. They alleged in their filing that the state violated their 14th Amendment rights to due process and equal protection in denying them the right to marry.

Abercrombie, who signed the civil unions bill into law a year after his Republican predecessor refused, said the right to marry was a fundamental right.

“Under current law, a heterosexual couple can choose to enter into a marriage or a civil union,” Abercrombie said in a statement to the court. “A same-sex couple, however, may only elect a civil union. My obligation as governor is to support equality under the law. This is inequality, and I will not defend it.”

The marriage ban “violates the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution because the right to marry is a fundamental right, and there is no legitimate reason to deny otherwise qualified couples the ability to marry simply because they are of the same sex. … By denying all same-sex couples the ability to marry, state law discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, and there are no compelling, substantial, or even rational bases for such discrimination.”

Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy said she would defend the law.

“Absent any ruling to the contrary by competent judicial authority regarding constitutionality, the law will be enforced,” Fuddy said in a statement. “Because I am being sued for administering the law, I will also defend it.”