Hawaiian Laws Against SSM Ruled Constitutional

HONOLULU (CNS) — U.S. District Court Judge Alan Kay in an Aug. 8 ruling said Hawaii’s laws banning same-sex marriage “are not unconstitutional,” and he threw out a lawsuit that had argued otherwise.

The Hawaii Family Forum, a Christian educational organization, had intervened in the case to defend Hawaii’s marriage statutes, and its attorney, Jim Hochberg, said he was pleased Kay “agreed with every argument,” except one, “made on behalf of” the forum.

Three people had filed a lawsuit, supported by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, asking the court to declare unconstitutional the 1998 constitutional amendment that gave the state legislature the power to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and the state law that subsequently did that. They argued that the amendment and the law violated due process and equal protection under the law.

Kay disagreed, however, saying any restructuring of “the traditional institution of marriage” should be done through the legislature or by the people by amending the constitution and “not through judicial legislation that would inappropriately pre-empt democratic deliberation.”

He said the state could conclude that it has addressed the same sex marriage issue over the years “with caution,” first when the legislature established reciprocal-beneficiary relationships 15 years ago and last year when it legalized civil unions.

“To suddenly constitutionalize the issue would short-circuit the legislative actions,” he said.