August 9, 2012
By Jacob Combs
Some disappointing news out of Hawaii, where late yesterday a federal judge ruled against two women seeking to bring marriage equality to the Aloha State by opposing the states civil unions law in the case Jackson v. Abercrombie. “Hawaii’s marriage laws are not unconstitutional,” district court Judge Alan C. Kay wrote in his ruling, which continued (via the Sacramento Bee):
“Nationwide, citizens are engaged in a robust debate over this divisive social issue. If the traditional institution of marriage is to be reconstructed, as sought by the plaintiffs, it should be done by a democratically elected legislature or the people through a constitutional amendment,” and not through the courts.
In the ruling, Judge Kay also denied a request by the Hawaii Family Forum, the Christian group defending the law, seeking to remove Gov. Neil Abercrombie as the named defendant in the case. In an unusual twist, Abercrombie, who personally supports marriage equality, found himself on both sides of the case as a defendant who in fact supports the case of the plaintiffs. In a statement, Abercrombie said that he opposes the court’s ruling and will join with the plaintiffs in any appeal they file:
“To refuse individuals the right to marry on the basis of sexual orientation or gender is discrimination in light of our civil unions law. For me, this is about fairness and equality.”
Without a doubt, the Hawaii court’s ruling, particularly the language about marriage being ‘reconstructed,’ is a frustrating one. We’ll have more analysis of the ruling to come.