Hawaii Judge Legalizes Same-Sex Marriages
Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Kevin Chang ruled on December 3 that the state must recognize same-sex marriages because the state government had failed to show that there was a "compelling state interest" to prohibit same-sex marriages. Chang ruled that a ban on same-sex marriages violates the state's constitution, making Hawaii the first state to recognize same-sex marriages. The state Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that Hawaii had to show the "compelling state interest" to justify the ban which appeared unconstitutional. State Deputy Attorney General Rick Eichor plans to file for a stay of Chang's order to buy time to study the ruling and said he would make an appeal to the state Supreme Court if the stay is not granted.
Attorney Dan Foley originally filed suit in 1990 on behalf of three same-sex couples. Of Tuesday's ruling, Foley said, "I couldn't have gotten more; we got 100 percent."
In September, President Clinton signed into law the "Defense of Marriage Act" which would allow states to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states. According to the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, some 15 states have passed legislation barring same-sex marriage or recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states. Seventeen other states have thrown out such measures.
Media Resources: Reuters - December 4, 1996; The Washington Post - December 4, 1996; USA Today - December 4, 1996; The Nando Net and the Associated Press - December 4, 1996