Stops Defending Law Banning Same-Sex Marriage
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[May 06, 2014]
(Reuters) - Hawaii will no longer
defend a law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman,
five months after the state legalized same-sex marriage, state officials
said on Monday.
The state will stop defending against a lawsuit filed in 2011 by a
same-sex couple who sought to declare Hawaii's old marriage law
unconstitutional, according to a statement from Attorney General
David M. Louie.
Last November, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, had signed a bill
extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. The law took effect
"The law, policy and public sentiment in Hawaii has clearly and
dramatically changed in favor of marriage equality," said Louie.
In response to the 2011 lawsuit, the state had filed two separate
answers, one representing then-Director of Health Loretta Fuddy and
the other representing Abercrombie. Fuddy's legal team had defended
the law as constitutional, while Abercrombie had agreed with the
Both Abercrombie and the current health director, Dr. Linda Rosen,
supported the decision to stop defending the law, according to the
statement. The health department has helped more than 1,400 same-sex
couples obtain marriage licenses over the past five months, Rosen
Momentum toward expanding marriage rights for same-sex couples has
grown since the U.S. Supreme Court in June last year ruled that
legally married gay couples were eligible for federal benefits.
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Seventeen states plus the District of Columbia allow same-sex
couples to marry. That number would increase sharply if federal
court rulings striking down bans in several states are upheld on
(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Michael Urquhart)
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