Lawsuit fails to stop Hawaii legislature from passing gay marriage legislation

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Bob McDermott

HONOLULU – Oahu Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto refused on Thursday, November 7, to issue a temporary restraining order against the Hawaii Legislature to prevent lawmakers from legalizing gay marriage.

The lawsuit, filed by Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican, centered on a 1998 ballot issue on same-sex marriage.


Gov. Neil Abercrombie and many legislators maintain the meaning of the issue presented on the 1998 ballot gave the State Legislature the power to make all future decisions on same sex marriage, but McDermott said the adopted Constitutional Amendment, and official instructions from the Office of Elections, clearly set limits on legislative authority.

McDermott also said the people clearly “thought” they were voting on a legal definition of marriage as between opposite sexes only.

“I was there in 1998 as a member of the State House….a claim few in office today can make.  The people thought they were answering the question once and for all.  However, the horrible language that was foisted upon the people by the Senate Judiciary committee at the time left us with no choice but to accept the amendment.  This explains the mess we are in today,“ McDermott said.

The 1998 amendment reads: The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.  On November 3, 1998, Hawaii voters approved the amendment by a vote of 69.2–28.6%, and the state legislature exercised its power to ban same-sex marriage.

However, McDermott notes the people were told by the Office of Elections in an aggressive 4-week campaign that the meaning of the amendment was:

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 point here is that the people thought they were voting on reserving marriage to opposite-sex couples only,” Mcdermott said.

Sakamoto said in court Thursday that the plaintiffs could return to court once the legislation is passed.
The Senate has passed Senate Bill 1, which legalizes gay marriage in Hawaii. A different version passed the House yesterday on second reading by a vote of 30-18 with three absent.
The Senate and House still need to agree on a final version of the bill before it can be sent to the governor for his signature.





  1. This is a nonsense lawsuit. The Hawaii constitutional amendment is unlike every other anti-gay marriage amendment. All of the other state constitutional amendments explicitly state that "Only marriage between one man and one woman is valid in this state." On the other hand, the Hawaii amendment merely gives the state legislature the power to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples if it wants to. And now it doesn't want to.

    • The funny thing about constitutional amendments is that the intent of the people carries precedence over the intent of the legislature. If the people "thought" they were reserving marriage to opposite sex couples, then that is the law, no matter what the legislature had planned for them in the back room.

      • yes, dumdum, but there is no way to prove what people "thought"-doesnt matter now-your side lost and will be all dead soon-yay!!

  2. Ha ha, just like in Illinois, if Hawaii gets gay marriage it won't be legally. In Illinois the gay lobby was told no last years so they got together with others that had been told no such as labor unions with mon ties that hadn't served their members well and illegal immigrants and said Look we have poweful political machine, support us and we will get you citizenship and make sure that union leaders have some power again. It was the same plan Milk used to take down San Francisco and what do you know–it worked. The Illinois representative went against their constituents and supported the gay lobby. Let's not pretend that's the legislative process in action, it's the legislative process corrupted. Just like in Hawaii, the gay lobby has gotten the legislature to pretend that the vote in 1998 never happened and that they have the power to legislate gay marriage. If that isn't breaking the law then what is? Pretty soon people are going to find out what God knows about these kind of people and that is there is only one way to stop them. It's sad that America has come to this.

    • who cares-you biitched when "dem blacks' got rights and now you biitch about gays-biitch away! it will serve no purpose-boo hooo boo hooo (hint-we are not a true democracy-we are a representatyive republic-the people dont get to determine rights)

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