Both sides claim win in same-sex marriage lawsuit hearing
Updated On: Nov 08 2013 10:50:39 AM HST
A Circuit Court judge denied a temporary restraining order Thursday filed by a state House Republican in what was an attempt to stop the governor from signing the same-sex marriage bill into law.
But both sides in the lawsuit are claiming victory.
Judge Karl Sakamoto signaled on Thursday that the same-sex marriage battle is likely to wind up in a courtroom.
But, today isn't the time. He's unwilling to ban the governor form signing a bill that hasn't even passed yet.
State Attorney General David Louie says that would essentially block legislators from doing their jobs.
"Nobody. Nobody is going to go down to the Legislature and stop the Legislature from legislating, which is what they were originally asking for," said Louie. "And nobody is going to stop the governor from exercising his constitutional duties to sign a bill into law if he chooses."
But, the constitutionality of a Marriage Equality act is where things could get sticky. Voters passed a constitutional amendment in 1998 giving lawmakers the power to reserve marriage to heterosexual couples.
The judge now wonders whether voters might have thought at the time they were prohibiting same-sex marriage, not giving the Legislature the power to define marriage.
The state says the 1998 amendment gives them that power.
"I guess the bottom line here is that the power of the Legislature to enact this law is clear. It's constitutional. It's within the Legislature's authority," said Louie.
State Representative Bob McDermott says when voters passed the amendment in 1998, their intent was an all-out ban.
"What the voters thought they were voting -- the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples only," said McDermott. "That word 'only' is key. That was mailed to every voter in 1998."
Judge Sakamoto says if this new bill indeed passes, and the governor signs it into law, he will be open to hearing a challenge at that point. McDermott says he'll be there, ready and waiting.
"We will be back the moment it is signed and challenge the constitutionality," said McDermott.
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