A federal court in Hawaii has ruled in favor of upholding the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in the state, ruling against two women who wanted to get married.
"If the traditional institution of marriage is to be restructured, as sought by plaintiffs, it should be done by a democratically-elected legislature or the people through a constitutional amendment, not through judicial legislation that would inappropriately preempt democratic deliberation regarding whether or not to authorize same-sex marriage," explained U.S. District Judge Alan Kay, who issued a 120-page decision on Wednesday in the Jackson v. Abercrombie case.
The case in question concerned Natasha Jackson and Janin Kleid, who had filed a lawsuit claiming that in order to get all the federal benefits given to heterosexual couples, they needed to be married.
Pro-family groups in Hawaii and in other states have hailed the court's decision, which they say protects the state's laws,The Associated Press reported.
"The ruling affirms that protecting and strengthening marriage as the union of one man and one woman is legitimate, reasonable, and good for society," said Dale Schowengerdt, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom representing Hawaii Family Forum. "The people of Hawaii adopted a constitutional amendment to uphold marriage, and the court rightly concluded that the democratic process shouldn't be short-circuited by judicial decree."
Judge Kay noted, however, that Hawaii is indeed moving toward providing more rights for same-sex couples, but the court is not the place to ask for redefining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
In 1998, Hawaii became the first state to approve a ban on same-sex marriage, and has since stuck to the traditional definition despite a number of states giving gays and lesbians the legal right to marry.
However, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who has pushed for civil union rights for Hawaiian homosexual couples, has refused to support the court's decision and has said he would stand by the plaintiffs if they decide to appeal the decision.
"I respectfully disagree and will join the Plaintiffs if they appeal this decision. To refuse individuals the right to marry on the basis of sexual orientation or gender is discrimination in light of our civil union's law," said Gov. Abercrombie. "For me this is about fairness and equality."
As governor of Hawaii, Abercrombie was named as a defendant in the case, along with Loretta J. Fuddy, the state's Director of Health.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, concluded in its decision: "Throughout history and societies, marriage has been connected with procreation and childrearing…. It follows that it is not beyond rational speculation to conclude that fundamentally altering the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions might result in undermining the societal understanding of the link between marriage, procreation, and family structure."