East Hawaii News

Challenge to Marriage Equality Act Dismissed

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A legal challenge from four individual plaintiffs, State Representative Bob McDermott, Garret Hashimoto, William E.K. Kumia, and David Langdon to the Hawai’i Marriage Equality Act of 2013 was dismissed by the Hawai’i Supreme Court Tuesday.

The Office of the Attorney General said in a release Wednesday that the Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs were not harmed or injured by the Marriage Equality Act and therefore did not have standing to challenge it.

“The most important part of the Supreme Court’s ruling was its conclusion that the ‘legislature’s decision to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples did not, in any way, diminish the right to marry’ for the plaintiffs or anyone else,” said Attorney General Doug Chin, quoting the opinion.

According to the complaint, the 2013 Act changed the way Hawai’i defined marriage so that same-sex couple could get married. Going further, the complaint states that the Act is unconstitutional under Article I, Section 23 of the Hawai’i Constitution, which states “The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.” The appellants go on to say the 1998 marriage amendment was “adopted by the voters so that constitutionally it is required to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.”


Deputy Attorney General Deirdre Marie-Iha argued on behalf of the defendants. “This is an exciting time for marriage equality in our country, as we await the United States Supreme Court’s ruling that will govern so many other states. We hope that the United States Supreme Court will recognize, as our Supreme Court did today, that those who oppose marriage equality are ‘harmed not at all when others are given the liberty to choose their own life partners and are shown the respect that comes with formal marriage.’ ”

The lawsuit was originally filed by the plaintiffs in 2013.


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