State Upholds Hawaii Marriage Equality Act as Constitutional

honoluluAccording to the Hawaii Reporter, state court Judge Karl Sakamoto upheld the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013 on January 29, declaring it constitutional under both the state and federal constitutions.

Attorney General David M. Louie said that Sakamoto’s ruling “unequivocally affirmed the right of people to marry the person they love without regard to gender,” according to the report.

In October 2013, Hawaii State Representative Bob McDermott and three other individuals challenged the constitutionality of the Hawaii Legislature’s authority to enact a law that would allow same-sex couples to marry in Hawaii.  

Sakamoto, in earlier rulings, had denied plaintiffs’ request that the State be preliminarily enjoined from enacting the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013 and then the implementation of the law. Last Wednesday, Attorney General Louie asked the Court to enter final judgment in favor of the Defendants, Governor Abercrombie and the Director of the Department of Health. The Court agreed to do so.  

The Hawaii Marriage Equality Act went into effect on December 2, 2013, making the State of Hawaii the 15th State to recognize marriage equality. The State Department of Health’s records show that more than 670 same-sex couples have married in Hawaii since then. In addition, more than 230 same-sex couples have requested licenses to marry, meaning that the number of same-sex couples married in Hawaii will soon exceed 900, according to the report.

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And of the states that recently passed same-sex marriage laws in the United States, look no further than Hawaii and New York as perhaps the two most popular among gay and lesbian clients.

In fact, an estimate from a University of Hawaii researcher says the law to allow same-sex marriage in Hawaii is expected to boost tourism there by $217 million over the next three years.

The study’s author has said Hawaii would benefit from pent-up demand for gay weddings, with couples spending $166 million over those three years on ceremonies and honeymoons.

“It is proven that LGBT consumers choose to spend their disposable income at destinations, where they are/feel accepted, recognized and respected,” Carlos Melia of First in Service Travel, an agency based in New York, told Travel Agent. “Hawaii has given a clear and loud ‘Aloha’ to the community, celebrating diversity and equal rights. I mean, Hawaii [already] had everything you would wish for to celebrate an ideal wedding, and now they have taken the step forward to make it official."

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Hawaii’s marriage laws allow couples to register for a license and be married the same day, a process conducive for tourists only in the state a short time. Couples can sign up for a license online, and then be verified by any license agent throughout the state. Agents have set up shop throughout the islands.

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