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Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals receives responses to order questioning whether to dismiss appeal of Hawaii marriage equality case

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Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
The same-sex couples who fought Hawaii’s same-sex marriage ban in federal court have now filed, along with Governor Abercrombie, requests to have the Ninth Circuit appeal dismissed. Earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit gave the plaintiffs 21 days to seek dismissal, based on the fact that Hawaii’s new law granting marriage to same-sex couples has been signed by the governor, and the law went into effect on December 2.

The plaintiffs and Governor Abercrombie filed separate responses. The plaintiffs asked the Ninth Circuit to completely wipe out the district court’s decision which had initially upheld Hawaii’s ban. Because “it would be inequitable for Plaintiffs and the Governor to suffer any preclusive effects of the District Court’s Order and Judgment, without the ability to appeal from them,” they write, the would oppose unconditionally dismissing the case. They point to two cases currently in a state court and a federal court challenging the enactment of the new same-sex marriage law (on the rationale that Hawaii’s constitutional amendment’s language prevents enactment of a law granting marriage to same-sex couples), arguing that if those were to result in decisions that struck the new law down, they want the Ninth Circuit appeal to be reinstated. That would be the only way the plaintiffs could seek relief from the reinstatement of the marriage ban.

Governor Abercrombie’s response to the Ninth Circuit’s order notes that he agrees the plaintiffs are entitled to have the district court decision vacated, but adds that he himself is also entitled to that action: the only exception to granting that type of relief is if the party asking for it actually caused the case to be moot. Governor Abercrombie points out that no matter how much he wanted the same-sex marriage law passed, it’s the legislature’s role. He also notes that he doesn’t consent to dismissal of the appeal prior to an order for the courts to vacate the district court decision. His filing also points to the two current lawsuits as a reason to reinstate the appeal, if they were to move forward the case would not be moot as the new same-sex marriage law would be voided.

Now that the responses have been filed, the Ninth Circuit will review them and issue a ruling. The case is Jackson v. Abercrombie.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings

3 Comments

  • 1. Just curious  |  December 19, 2013 at 10:07 am

    http://www.nmcompcomm.us/nmcases/nmsc/slips/SC34,…

  • 2. Scottie Thomaston  |  December 19, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Really weird that says December 2014.

  • 3. Marriage Equality Round-U&hellip  |  December 20, 2013 at 7:41 am

    […] USA, Hawaii: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is working to wrap up the marriage equality lawsuit in Hawaii, now that the legislature has passed the bill into law. full story […]

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