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Hawaii Family Forum allowed to intervene in same-sex suit

By Ken Kobayashi

LAST UPDATED: 12:30 p.m. HST, Apr 30, 2012

A federal judge ruled today that Hawaii Family Forum can participate in a federal court case to defend state laws reserving marriage to a man and a woman.

Senior U. S. District Judge Alan Kay ruled that the Christian organization has established enough of an interest in the laws to warrant the granting of its request to intervene in the case.

The judge noted the "odd posture" of the case with state officials taking different positions, but said HFF could assist him in providing a comprehensive and broad analysis of the issues.

The case stems from a lawsuit filed by Natasha Jackson and Janin Kleid, who were denied a marriage license; and Gary Bradley, who has a male partner.

Their lawsuit challenges state laws banning same-sex marriages as a violation of the U. S. Constitution guarantees of due process and equal protection.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie agrees that the laws violate the Constitution, while his Health Director Loretta Fuddy has said she will defend the same-sex marriage ban.

HFF lawyer Holly Carmichael of Scottsdale, Ariz., said the "very unusual posture" of state officials presenting "a house divided" raises the issue of whether her group's position will be adequately presented by Fuddy.

 Honolulu attorney John D'Amato representing the three plaintiffs and deputies from the Attorney General's Office representing Abercrombie argued that HFF hasn't shown a sufficient basis in joining the litigation.

They argued that Fuddy would adequately represent the goup's interests.

Attorney General deputies representing Fuddy supported HFF's intervention.

The lawsuit was filed in December and is still in its early stages.  The trial is scheduled for April next year.

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