Marriage Attacked in Hawaii Court; Governor Refuses to Defend

HONOLULU, March 5, 2010 — Hawaii's new civil union law took effect on January 1.It did not take long for three same-sex couples to file suit in federal district court claiming that the law gay rights groups advocated denied then equal protection and requested that Hawii's law protecting traditional marriage be overturned.

Soon after the law suit was filed, Hawaii's governor, Neil Abercrommbie announced, "I will not not defend [Hawai'i's definition of marriage as one man and one woman." Alliance Defense Fund  representing Hawaii Family Forum have asked the federal district court for permission to intervene so that marriage gets a fair defense in that state.

“Anyone who believes so-called ‘civil unions’ will preserve marriage need only look at this lawsuit and countless others, " said ADF Litigation Counsel Holly Carmichael. "Civil unions are a Trojan Horse used by activists to undermine marriage, not protect it. Hawaii’s marriage statute and constitutional amendment uphold marriage, and we are seeking to give those protections an adequate defense.”

ADF's motion and brief seeks entry into a lawsuit recently filed to tear down Hawaii’s law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman and Hawaii’s constitutional amendment that gives the legislature the power to maintain the timeless definition. The three individuals who filed the suit are also assailing Hawaii’s “civil unions” law, which became effective Jan. 1, arguing that nothing less than a complete redefinition of marriage will satisfy them.

“Hawaii has been defending against this redefinition since 1993,” said James Hochberg, one of the  attorneys in the ADF alliance who is serving as local counsel on behalf of Hawaii Family Forum. “Our state should not now succumb to demands that we ignore marriage as society’s time-tested way to bless as many children as possible with both a mom and a dad. Marriage expresses the truth that men and women bring distinct, irreplaceable gifts to family life.”

The lawsuit, Jackson v. Abercrombie, asks the court to declare Hawaii’s constitutional amendment on marriage and the state’s law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman unconstitutional.

Governor Neil Abercrombie has stated both publicly and in the lawsuit that he agrees with those arguments and that he will not defend the law against those attacks. Abercrombie’s stance prompted Hawaii Family Forum through its ADF attorneys to ask the court to allow it to intervene in defense of marriage in the state.

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