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Judge denies bid to block start of civil unions Sunday

By Ken Kobayashi

LAST UPDATED: 05:02 p.m. HST, Dec 30, 2011

U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright denied this afternoon a request by two churches for a restraining order to block a law that goes into effect Sunday permitting same-sex couples to enter civil unions.

Joshua Wisch, spokesman for the attorney general's office, said as a result of the ruling, the civil unions law will "go into effect as planned on Jan. 1, 2012."

The Emmanuel Temple and the Lighthouse Outreach Center Assembly of God asked for the order.  

They argued that although they will be exempt from performing same-sex civil unions, they would face civil penalties and fines if they refused to rent their property for same-sex civil unions.

In a 17-page opinion, Seabright ruled that the churches have not shown they are entitled to the restraining order.

He said "it is clear that the present dispute is not ripe for the granting of a TRO."

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DowntownGreen wrote:
on December 30,2011 | 04:19PM
Anonymous wrote:
Same sex and opposite sex couples will be eligible for civil unions. It would be ironic if the first civil union was an opposite sex couple...
on December 30,2011 | 06:55PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Ironic? Probably. A good thing? Sure. The whole point is that ALL individuals that are eligible to marry would be treated equally as a couple under civil law.

I would hope everyone would wish ANY couple congratulations on such a happy occasion.

on December 30,2011 | 09:20PM
8082062424 wrote:
This round was lost. im all for civil union. but also im for churches having rights. as the judge said this dispute is not ripe. churches have to keep fighting to protect them selves.
on December 30,2011 | 04:30PM
aomohoa wrote:
Why would any couple want to get married at some church in Waipahu? Gay or straight, I would want to get married on the beach. That's just me.
on December 30,2011 | 04:33PM
8082062424 wrote:
that a good question
on December 30,2011 | 04:38PM
Changalang wrote:
And justice is served.
on December 30,2011 | 05:37PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Good for Judge Seabright.
on December 30,2011 | 06:05PM
Grimbold wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 30,2011 | 06:29PM
Anonymous wrote:
Yes you can, the law is about 2 people. Does'nt say you cannot be related. This is a great new law. And you can give your kids medical benefits for life... Chhee Huuu.
on December 30,2011 | 10:32PM
Kapakahi wrote:

The lawsuit was a legal joke. If some churches are ever sued because they deny same sex couples the right to use their facilities for a solemnization ceremony, that would be the time to determine if they have the right to plead for a religious exemption. The attorney who filed this case HAD to know in advance that's how the court would rule.

I had assumed it would have been James Hochberg who filed the challenge, but I just checked and it was another attorney I am unfamiliar with. Shucks! I was hoping it was Hochberg, as such a challenge would demonstrate a weak understanding of the law. Darn! jom is apparently too smart to have filed such a frivolous suit.

If, when a conservative church IS sued for denying use of their facilities, I expect it would be Hochberg defending the churches. I understand the demand for a religious exemption. I am unsure whether I support it or not. To me, that's a tough call.

I am more than a little put off bythis Christian church calling itself "Emmanuel Temple." That strikes me as a deliberate, and presumptuous, attempt to infringe on the name of Temple Emmanuel, the Jewish synagogue. It is as if they think they can take the name for themselves because their claim, as Christian, trumps that of another, "false" religious group. Not the first time Christians display an arrogant disregard for the faith of others.

on December 30,2011 | 07:48PM
tommui wrote:
Churches do have rights to protect themselves. However if they should rent their churches or church halls, have catering services etc like a lot of them do - marriage chapel type stuff, they cannot discriminate on basis of race, sexual preferences etc. In short, once you open up yourself to the general public, you must comply with the Civil Rights Act.
on December 30,2011 | 08:08PM
8082062424 wrote:
maybe the answer is to not serve the public but male those thing and services to those of the same fait
on December 30,2011 | 09:10PM
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