Rep. Bob McDermott
Rep. Bob McDermott
HONOLULU – Some 1,853 of Hawaii’s 13,505 marriages held since Dec. 2, 2013, were between same sex couples.

But Hawaii’s same sex marriage law, passed by the Hawaii Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in Nov. 2013, could come to an end if the Hawaii Supreme Court rules the law invalid.

On Dec. 18, the state’s high court will hear oral arguments in the challenge brought by Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican in the Hawaii Legislature.

The basis of his case: Hawaii voters opposed same sex marriage in 1998 by a vote of 69.2 percent to 28.6 percent on a amendment that read: “The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.”

Most voters believed they were reserving marriage to opposite-sex couples only in 1998, McDermott said, because the amendment clearly restricted the power of the Legislature on this issue, not expanded it.

Leading up to the 1998 election, the Office of Elections placed printed newspaper ads during a four-week campaign to educate the public about the meaning of the amendment, writing: “Meaning of a Yes Vote: A “yes” vote would add a new provision to the constitution that would give the Legislature the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples only. The Legislature could then pass a law that would limit marriage to a man and a woman, overturning the recent Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriage.”

“The people spoke on this issue in 1998 in a clear voice. To ignore them is to disregard and disenfranchise their 1998 vote,” McDermott said. “I defy anyone to explain how those ballot instructions mean they can exercise the exact opposite of the will of the people regarding marriage. Who owns the government, politicians or the people?”

McDermott first filed a court challenge to the law while it was still being debated at the Legislature last November.

“Some people fail to realize that we won on two of the three issues contested in the second hearing, as to standing and the language of the amendment, respectively,” McDermott said.

A former Marine and Gulf War veteran, married for 30 years and a father of eight children, McDermott was one of the organizing forces for a coalition of citizens, politicians, businessmen and clergy who tried to stop Senate Bill 1, HD1 from passing.

Gay rights activist Kathryn Xian, who heads the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, said McDermott “exemplifies institutional homophobia.”

“He (McDermott) publicly opposes the established rights and equality of a class of people and attempts to manipulate the code of law to justify his prejudice. But America is not predicated upon prejudice, but by democracy,” Xian said.

The case was brought against the state of Hawaii. Attorney General David Louie, who will defend the state throughout the litigation, did not return a call and email for comment.

Case law and precedent is on his side, McDermott claims. If he loses in Hawaii’s Supreme Court, he said he will litigate his case through the appeals process.



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  1. What a poor pathetic homophobic man! A few years back you're own interracial marriage wouldn't be allowed aren't you glad rights were given to you to marry who you loved.

    • Repeating Aloha's post, why?
      And resorting to bitching without provocation? Why? Are you a hater? Haters reacted to Warren, a best-selling author and leader of a Southern California megachurch, whom Obama invited in a visible role at his his 2008 inauguration.
      Warren such is one of a new breed of evangelicals who stress the need for action on social issues such as reducing poverty and protecting the environment, alongside traditional theological themes.
      Gay rights advocates say they are troubled that "By inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table," the letter said."We feel a deep level of disrespect when one of the architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination," the group said in a letter to Obama, asking him to reconsider. Obama's selection of Warren. [THESE LGBTs HATE WARREN!!? WHY?]
      Obama, however, pointed out that a couple of years ago, he was invited to speak at Warren's church, despite their disagreements on a number of issues said :During the campaign, Warren interviewed Obama and Republican John McCain in a widely watched television program that focused on religious concerns.

  2. If Rep. Bob McDermott is using his own money and money from other private sources to pay for litigation,legal expenses,etc. well it's his own money wasted.But is he using tax-payer money? If he is,that be our money flushed down the toilet. we should have never allowed the government to get involved in marriage all those years ago.This is the result: Special Interest A Vs. Special Interest B.

  3. What I got from the wording of the amendment is that it doesn't say same-sex unions would be illegal, just that it cannot legally be called "marriage" but everyone knows that it is. Exactly like politically correct speech. Check your privilege Katheryn Xian. People call others "homophobes" went they can't formulate a logical response, you heterophobe.

  4. Has McDermott even considered that he is alienating a group of men and women that the Republican Party should be in solidarity with.Hawaii residents and tax-payers need the support of gays and lesbians as well.many of them are hard working tax-payers,small business owners,etc. Our real enemy is the oppressive,ever growing STATE bureaucracy and heavily militarized and militant law-enforcement and never ending higher taxes and political and cronyism corruption.If the gays and lesbians want to marry,for crissake,let them marry in peace.

  5. Dearest Bob, we have many problems and opportunities here in Hawaii. Your peculiar religious beliefs are mildly interesting but have no place in the political arena. You see, Bob, in America we don't follow Sharia law, Christian law or any other religious "laws." But you go ahead. Pandering suits you well. P.S. My marriage is doing fine. How's yours? Did same sex marriage do you (or anyone else) any damage?

  6. My first marriage fell apart because of same-sex marriage. Totally not MY fault, so it must have been the same-sex marriage thing.

    FYI, this is called sarcasm

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