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Friday, October 10, 2014
Gay Lawsuit Against Hawaii Gay Marriage Ban Ends as Moot
By Selected News Articles @ 6:45 PM :: 4200 Views :: Family

Case Against Hawaii Gay Marriage Ends as Moot

by William Dotinga, Courthouse News, October 10, 2014 (excerpt)

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - This week's flurry of same-sex marriage news continued Friday, as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied as moot a challenge to Hawaii's gay marriage ban which had already been undone by legislative action last year.

     The Aloha State became the 15th state in the nation to legalize gay marriage after the state Senate approved the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act in November 2013.

     Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, had pushed the legislation after he called a voter-approved 1998 amendment banning same-sex marriage "inequality," and refused to defend the constitutional amendment in a court challenge. The state's health department chief, Loretta Fuddy, represented the state instead.

     Despite the passage of the marriage equality law, the legal battle against the ban continued to the 9th Circuit last month along with similar skirmishes in Idaho and Nevada. But for Hawaii, the only real issue was whether the court should dismiss the case as moot or grant a stay in the case while man-woman marriage advocates seek to overturn the statute.

     While the state advocated for mootness, attorney Ken Connelly for Hawaii Family Forum said that premature dismissal "risks harming the court and the public interest."

     On Friday, the panel declared the case moot - noting that the gay and lesbian plaintiffs had already married their partners and got "everything they hoped to achieve."

     The judges added that other lawsuits challenging Hawaii's marriage equality law already in the pipeline "do not defeat mootness" in this case....

read ... The Rest of the Article

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Ninth Circuit Vacates Lower Court Decision in Hawaii Marriage Equality Case

Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing attorney Clyde J. Wadsworth argued the case before the Ninth Circuit

News Release from AHFI October 21, 2014

According to court documents, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has vacated the federal district court's judgment in Jackson et al v. Abercrombie, the Hawai`i marriage equality case.  The district court had upheld Hawai`i's prior marriage law excluding same-sex couples, but last week the Ninth Circuit remanded to the district court with instructions to dismiss the case as moot because the Marriage Equality Act, which was passed by the Hawai`i Legislature and took effect December 2, 2013, provides marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing (AHFI) attorney Clyde J. Wadsworth, co-counsel for the plaintiff-appellants, argued the case before the Ninth Circuit on September 8, 2014. "We are glad to see the district court judgment vacated," said Wadsworth, "particularly in light of the Ninth Circuit's decisions striking down discriminatory marriage laws in Idaho and Nevada."

Jackson v. Abercrombie first challenged Hawai`i’s denial of marriage to same-sex couples in 2012. After a federal district court judge upheld Hawai`i law, Jackson was appealed to the Ninth Circuit, where it was placed on hold pending the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal benefits to legally married gay couples.  In June 2013, the Court struck down that part of DOMA. (Jackson et al v. Abercrombie 12-16995 and 12-16998)

Watch video of the oral argument here; Wadsworth appears at the beginning of the recording with rebuttal at the 23-minute mark.

Read the disposition here.

See prior coverage of the case here.    

PDF: Court Ruling

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