Advocates for gay
marriage laud ruling

A Massachusetts court decision
is expected to test Hawaii's law
on same-sex unions

A Massachusetts court decision upholding same-sex marriages will likely lead to challenges of Hawaii's law, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, according to those involved in the issue.

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled 4-3 yesterday that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and gave legislators there 180 days to address the issue.

In response, Hawaii advocates for and against same-sex marriage said they expect to see couples getting married in Massachusetts, then coming to Hawaii to try and get the state to recognize their union.

"Hopefully, when their six months are out we will see couples from Hawaii going to Boston to get married as we've already been seeing in Canada and then coming back here to challenge the law," said Michael Golojuch Jr. of the Oahu branch of Parents, Families and Friends of Gays and Lesbians. "I don't know of anybody right now, but that's what we're hoping for. It seems like the next logical step."

Mike Gabbard, founder of the Alliance for Traditional Marriage and Values, predicts the challenges will become a "legal nightmare."

"Radical homosexual activists who have for years been waging a national battle to legalize same-sex marriage will now flock to Massachusetts to marry, then converge on Hawaii to file lawsuits," said Gabbard, who is also a city councilman.

The Massachusetts ruling stems from a 2001 case filed by seven same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses. However, local American Civil Liberties Union officials said it was a 1991 lawsuit in Hawaii on behalf of three same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses that started the national debate.

ACLU officials called the Massachusetts decision "another historic step toward equality."

"Hawaii was the first state that can take pride in drawing the line and saying 'no more,'" said ACLU Hawaii Executive Director Vanessa Chong. "These people laid the groundwork and it's because of them that we're here today."

Chong said Massachusetts joins Vermont and Canada in allowing same-sex couples to have unions recognized under the law.

In response, Gabbard is urging those opposing same-sex marriages to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as only being between a man and woman. The amendment is being introduced into the House of Representatives.

"Our two congressmen have not signed on yet," Gabbard said. "I hope that they, too, will stand up to the plate and represent our constituents here because they know how we feel about this."


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --