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Hawaii judge says same-sex marriage challenge too soon

Thursday, November 7, 2013
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HONOLULU — A Hawaii judge has rejected a move to block lawmakers from legalizing gay marriage in a special session, but said he’ll hear the challenge if a law is passed.

Bob McDermott

Bob McDermott

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto on Thursday said many voters might have thought they were voting to narrowly limit marriage when they voted on a constitutional amendment in 1998.

According to the lawsuit, the wording in the instructions said: “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.”

But Attorney General David Louie said last month that amendment gave the Legislature the power to decide whether to limit marriage, and that lawmakers “unquestionably” have the constitutional authority to consider and enact a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.

Louie said the plain language of the state’s constitution gives lawmakers the option to restrict marriage if they want, as opposed to forcing the state to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, as opponents to gay marriage argue.

Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican who has fought the bill, tried to derail the measure by attempting to shut down the legislative session.

He says he will go back to court right away if a new law passes.

The House will vote on the bill Friday, then give it to the Senate for final approval before it’s sent to Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

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