Judge denies bid to stop civil unions

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Friday afternoon a federal judge rejected an 11th hour request for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented civil unions from taking place beginning January 1, 2012.

Emanuel Temple, the House of Praise in Wahiawa and Lighthouse Outreach Center Assembly of God in Waipahu asked the court for an injunction. The churches oppose civil unions and fear they will be sued if they refuse to perform them.

In his decision denying the TRO U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright ruled the plaintiffs have not shown they are entitled to a restraining order. He wrote the "dispute is not justiciable, because it is not ripe for court review."

"No one has asked Plaintiffs to use their facilities for a civil union. No one has inquired about such use …" Seabright wrote. "Plaintiffs cannot say when and under what circumstances such a request might be made. Although they suggest that they will refuse to make their facilities available if asked, it remains speculative when, to whom, and under (what) circumstances that might occur."

The attorney for the churches, Shawn Luiz, said he is not disappointed in the ruling because while the request for injunction was denied, the case was not dismissed.

"The case is still live and we're still proceeding ahead," Luiz told Hawaii News Now. "We're going to still move ahead and do what we came here to do, which is ensure that the state complies with the First Amendment," he said.

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