Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues - Same-sex Marriage

2169 Words9 Pages
Same-sex Marriage The argument of same-sex marriage is important, not only for the religious and legal precedent, but because the welfare of families, especially the interest of children now and in the future, may be profoundly affected by the proposals before Hawaii's courts and the state legislature relating to same-sex marriage. Marriage is a unique practice, in that it is both a religious sacrament and legal registration controlled by the state. For the time being, marriage is defined by "84% of the population as the union of two people of the opposite sex" (Johnson p.49). Therefore, by definition, marriage has to be different sex. Whereas, the definition of homosexuality is "exhibiting sexual desire toward another of the same sex" (Webster's New World Dictionary p.673). Throughout human history, according to religious tradition and as a matter of natural law, marriage has been tied to potential procreative sexuality, which is a monopoly held by different-sex couples. Under this definitional objection, "the state cannot recognize something that is an impossibility" (Eskridge p.87). "In 1993, three same-sex couples (Ninia Baehr, Genora Dancel, Tammy Rodrigues, Antoinette Pregil, Pat Lagon and Joseph Melilio) applied for marriage licenses from the State of Hawaii. They were refused. They then challenged the state's decision in court. This set in motion a chain of events: the case was appealed to the Hawaii Supreme Court (Baehr v. Miike; action #15689) which ruled on May 27, 1993 that the state's refusal to grant marriage licenses was unconstitutional. It violated the Hawaiian Constitution's equal protection guarantees (Article I, Section 5) against gender discrimination. The court remanded the case to the Circuit Court, stating that licenses should be issued to same-sex couples, unless the state can show a compelling interest in banning such marriages" (Hawai'is Future Today). The Hawaiian Legislature passed a bill in 1994 stating that "the state's policy is that marriage must only be permitted between a man and a woman" (Hawai'is Future Today). On December 3, 1996, Judge Kevin Chang issued a 46 page ruling. He has determined that "the State of Hawaii failed to show a compelling state interest to justify the continuation of the ban against same-sex marriages" (Chang). Same sex marriages are now theoretically legal in Hawaii. However, the state refused to recognize the courts decision until it was formally filed. The attorney general obtained a stay of Judge Chang's court order, pending a decision by the state Supreme Court.
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