A Molokai man has filed a lawsuit seeking to use DNA to prove his ancestry so he can qualify for the Hawaiian homelands program, which leases land at almost no cost to Native Hawaiians.
Applicants must prove 50 percent Native Hawaiian ancestry to qualify for the program. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands allows for birth certificates and other documents to be used as proof.
Leighton Pang Kee's lawsuit filed this week in Circuit Court says DNA also should be allowed.
Kee was adopted, and his birth certificate doesn't list his biological father. His lawsuit says DNA has established his ancestry.
Department officials declined to comment, saying they can't discuss active litigation.
Kee's attorney Camille Kalama of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. says she believes this is the first lawsuit that seeks to use DNA to prove ancestry to obtain Hawaiian homelands benefits.