Hawaii Supreme Court dismisses marriage equality challenge

The Hawaii Supreme Court dismissed Wednesday a legal challenge raised by four individual plaintiffs to the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013.

The 2013 law changed Hawaii’s statutes regarding marriage so that same-sex couples could marry.

The Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs were not harmed or injured by the Marriage Equality Act and therefore did not have standing to challenge it.

“The most important part of the Supreme Court’s ruling was its conclusion that the ‘legislature’s decision to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples did not, in any way, diminish the right to marry’ for the plaintiffs or anyone else,” said Attorney General Doug Chin, quoting the opinion.

“Although it appears Appellants have deeply-held objections to same-sex marriage, such moral or ideological disapproval does not constitute a legally cognizable injury sufficient to establish standing,” the opinion by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald stated.

“We hope that the United States Supreme Court will recognize, as our Supreme Court did today, that those who oppose marriage equality are ‘harmed not at all when others are given the liberty to choose their own life partners and are shown the respect that comes with formal marriage,’” said Deputy Attorney General Deirdre Marie-Iha, who argued on behalf of the defendants.

Plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in 2013. The current governor and state director of health’s names were substituted in as defendants after the change in administration.

Read the published opinion McDermott v. Ige, SCAP-14-843.

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