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Court says Hawaii may regulate commercial beach weddings



The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Hawaii’s right to regulate commercial weddings on public beaches.

The court ruled today that beach wedding permits required by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources don’t violate the First Amendment, but the power to revoke or modify a permit at any time does.

The ruling says the Aloha State’s permitting requirement serves a significant governmental interest by protecting more than 200 public beaches in the islands.

The state began requiring permits for commercial weddings in 2008. That prompted a lawsuit by a group of Maui wedding planners who argued the requirements violate the First Amendment.

Attorney James Fosbinder says his clients are pleased the ruling prevents state officials from arbitrarily canceling or modifying wedding permits.


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