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From: Reuters News Service, 1996-DEC-03

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Judge Kevin Chang determined that the State of Hawaii failed to show a "compelling state interest" to justify the continuation of the prohibition against same-sex marriages. Same sex marriages are now legal in Hawaii, unless the state seeks and obtains a temporary injunction against them.

Some comments on the ruling were:
bulletDan Foley, the lawyer for three homosexual couples who brought the suit said "I couldn't have gotten more; we got 100%"
bulletRick Eichor, the Attorney General had no comment.
bulletNinia Baehr, one of the plaintiffs, said "I thought I would cry if we lost, but we cried for winning"
bulletMatt Coles of the American Civil Liberties Union said "This is the first court in the United States that has ever said it is unconstitutional to deny gay men and lesbians the right to marry...It's the first time a respected, important institution has...acknowledged that lesbian and gay relationships are functionally the equivalent of heterosexual relationships."
bulletThe Lambda Legal Defence and Education Fund said that 15 states have passed legislation that bars married homosexual couples from collecting benefits in their state; 14 were considering legislation; 17 considered such bills but rejected them. That leaves 4 who have not considered this type of legislation at all.
bulletAlan Klein, spokesperson for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said that the decision "sends a message to all Americans that discrimination based on sexual orientation should not be tolerated...There is a hole in the dam now and I don't think you're going to be able to stop the forces of tolerance at this point"
bulletRobert Bray of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in San Francisco said that the Hawaii court "has done what the U.S. Congress and President Clinton will not do -- uphold the principles of fairness and equality for gay and lesbian people, especially those of us in long-term relationships."
bulletDavid Smith of Human Rights Campaign said "This is a tremendous victory, but the battle's not over. A major bridge has been crossed, but the battle will continue."
bulletChris Purdom, of the Interfaith Working Group said "We are thrilled by the decision in Hawaii ordering the state to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples. This is a milestone event for gay rights, reproductive freedom, and the separation of church and state."
bulletOn the other hand, a number of Fundamentalist Christian groups had negative comments on the ruling:
bulletRobert Knight of the Family Research Council said that "This [ruling] is a slap in the face of the Hawaiian people and Americans everywhere...It ushers in a new area of lawlessness"
bulletThe Rev. Lou Sheldon Fundamentalist Traditional Values Coalition said the judge's action was "judicial tyranny."
bulletRalph Reed of the Christian Coalition said: With society in "a moral crisis...this is hardly the time to be tinkering with the definition of marriage."
In an unusual display of arrogance, the state refused to recognize the court decision. Two same-sex couples applied for a marriage license on OCT-4 and were refused. The attorney general is now attempting to obtain a stay of the court order, pending a decision by the state Supreme Court. Same sex couples in Hawaii will now be able to marry and obtain benefits such as: joint insurance policies, family leave for health reasons, hospital visitation rights, provisions in wills, joint tax returns and over a hundred others. The Federal "DOMA" law permits other states to refuse to recognize marriages made in Hawaii. Its constitutionality is questionable.

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