Senior U.S. District Judge Alan Kay upheld today Hawaii laws banning same-sex marriages.
The judge issued a 117-page decision which throws out the lawsuit filed by a lesbian couple and a gay man who contended the state laws violate the U.S. Constitution due process and equal protection provisions.
Kay ruled in favor of state Health Director Loretta Fuddy and the Hawaii Family Forum, and against the three plaintiffs and Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who contended the law violated the Constitution.
Hawaii’s marriage laws reserving marriage to a man and a woman “are not unconstitutional,” Kay said.
“Nationwide, citizens are engaged in a robust debate over this divisive social issue,” he said.
“If the traditional institution of marriage is to be restructured, as sought by plaintiffs, it should be done by a democratically-elected legislature or the people through a constitutional amendment, not through judicial legislation that would inappropriately preempt democratic deliberation regarding whether or not to authorize same-sex marriage.”
Abercrombie said he “respectfully” disagrees and will join in an appeal of the ruling.
“To refuse individuals the right to marry on the basis of sexual orientation or gender is discrimination in light of our civil unions law,” he said.
“For me this is about fairness and equality.”
John D’Amato, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he will appeal to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The lawsuit was filed last year on behalf of Natasha Jackson and Janin Kleid, who were denied a marriage license here, and by Gary Bradley, against Abercrombie and Fuddy.
Abercrombie, however, agreed that the law violated the constitutional protections, which resulted Attorney General David Louie’s office providing one team to represent the governor and another representing Fuddy, who defended the marriage laws.
Kay earlier allowed the Hawaii Family Forum, a Christian organization, to intervene in the case and defend the laws.
He heard more than two hours of arguments in the case on July 24.
In his decision, Kay granted requests by Fuddy and the forum to immediately rule in their favor without the case going to trial. He rejected the plaintiffs’ request for a ruling declaring the marriage laws unconstitutional.