A Tennessee judge has ruled that a gay couple cannot divorce in the state because their marriage is not recognized by Tennessee.

Frederick Michael Borman and Larry Kevin Pyles-Borman married in Iowa four years ago and later moved to Roane County, Tennessee, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

Less than a year into the marriage, the men separated and Frederick filed for divorce in March.

Roane County Circuit Judge Russell E. Simmons upheld the state's ban, saying it does not violate the U.S. Constitution.

“The battle is not between whether or not marriage is a fundamental right but what unions are included in the definition of marriage,” Simmons wrote.

Tennessee, Simmons said, has the right to define marriage.

The Tennessee attorney general's office said it was gratified by the ruling.

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court heard arguments in a challenge to Tennessee's marriage ban.