A U.S. District Court judge in Honolulu has thrown out a lawsuit challenging the state's law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.

Judge Alan Kay said in dismissing the suit that the issue of gay marriage should be left up to lawmakers.

“If the traditional institution of marriage is to be restructured, as sought by Plaintiffs, it should be done by a democratically-elected legislature or the people through a constitutional amendment, not through judicial legislation that would inappropriately preempt democratic deliberation regarding whether or not to authorize same-sex marriage,” Kay wrote.

Natasha N. Jackson and Janin Kleid claim they were denied a marriage license on November 18, 2011. The women 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. Governor Neil Abercrombie and the Hawaii Department of Health were named as defendants.

Abercrombie, who signed a civil unions bill into law a year after his Republican predecessor refused and supported the lawsuit, said he disagreed with the ruling.

“I respectfully disagree and will join the Plaintiffs if they appeal this decision,” Abercrombie said in a statement. “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.

Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy and the Christian conservative group the Hawaii Family Forum defended the law in court.