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Suit against Hawaii over gay marriage deemed moot

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Hawaii’s marriage equality law makes a pending federal lawsuit moot, and has instructed the lower court to dismiss the case.

The high court ruled in the case of Jackson et al. v. Abercrombie, in which Natasha N. Jackson and others had challenged Hawaii’s old marriage law that excluded same-sex couples in 2012.

While the case was making its way through the courts, legislators called into special session by Gov. Neil Abercrombie passed the Marriage Equality Act and Hawaii legalized same-sex marriage as of Dec. 2, 2013.

"Plaintiffs have subsequently married their same-sex partners," the Ninth Circuit noted in its order dated Oct. 10. "Because [the Marriage Equality Act] gave plaintiffs ‘everything they hoped to achieve by their lawsuit,’ this case is now moot."

The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded the case to the lower court with instructions to dimiss it. The federal district court had previously upheld the old law, and that decision was appealed.

"We are glad to see the district court judgment vacated, particularly in light of the Ninth Circuit’s decisions striking down discriminatory marriage laws in Idaho and Nevada," said Clyde J. Wadsworth, co-counsel for the plaintiff-appellants and an attorney with Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing.

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