A Hawaii judge on Thursday dismissed a
case challenging the state's gay marriage law, known as SB1.
Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie
signed the bill into law on Wednesday, a day after it cleared the
Hawaii Legislature. The law takes effect on December 2.
governor signs gay marriage law; Takes effect Dec. 2.)
Hawaii State Rep. Bob McDermott, a
Republican, filed the suit as lawmakers debated the issue during a
2-week special session called for by Abercrombie. However, Circuit
Court Judge Karl Sakamoto said he could not hear the case until after
the bill had become law.
McDermott has argued that a 1998
voter-approved constitutional amendment only allows the Legislature
to define marriage as a heterosexual union.
“What the voters thought they were
voting – the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples
only,” said McDermott. “That word 'only' is key. That was
mailed to every voter in 1998.”
At Thursday's hearing, Attorney General
David Louie told Sakamoto that the amendment “very simply” gave
lawmakers the power to define marriage but did not specify how it
should be defined.
“You cannot bar the Legislature from
enacting laws, which is what they're trying to do,” Louie said.
Jack Dwyer, the attorney representing
McDermott, suggested that the people of Hawaii had been duped,
repeatedly using the phrase “bait and switch.”
Sakamoto disagreed, saying that the
Legislature has an inherent right to define marriage through the
enactment of statutes, which includes same-sex couples as it has
Speaking to reporters after the
hearing, McDermott would not say whether an appeal was in the offing.