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Hawaii Governor Refuses to Defend Marriage Equality Ban in Jackson

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie announces that he will not defend Hawaii’s ban on marriages for gay and lesbian couples in district court.  In his announcement, Abercrombie says, “Under current law, a heterosexual couple can choose to enter into a marriage or a civil union.  A same-sex couple, however, may only elect a civil union.  My obligation as Governor is to support equality under law.  This is inequality, and I will not defend it.”

Abercrombie tells the court that he agrees that Jackson and Kleid’s due procres and equal protection rights have been violated.  Hawaii’s marriage laws, he says, are unconstitional under both the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, because they discriminate against gays and lesbians based on their sexual orientation, and the Due Process Clause, because they impinge upon the fundamental right to marry.

On the same day, Loretta Fuddy, the director of Hawaii’s Department of Health, announces that she will defend the state’s marriage laws.  In her statement, she says, “The Department of Health is charged with implementing the law as passed by the Legislature. Absent any ruling to the contrary by competent judicial authority regarding constitutionality, the law will be enforced.  Because I am being sued for administering the law, I will also defend it.”

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