Could SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage be a chance for Hawaii - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Could SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage be a chance for Hawaii opponents?

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was just 14 months ago that Hawaii lawmakers approved Senate Bill 1, which legalized same-sex marriages in the 50th state. Now, the nation's highest court is ready to rule on the issue, and its ruling may have an impact on the new law.

When legislators approved the measure in November 2013, there was wild celebration among supporters at the State Capitol. Since it became law in December 2013, more than three-thousand same-sex couples have tied the knot here, and even more states have permitted such marriages.

"This is a leapfrog from where we were a year ago, where Hawaii was the 15th state, and now we're 14 away from marriage equality being the law of the land," said Michael Golojuch, Jr., of the Hawaii Democratic Party's GLBT Caucus

However, courts have upheld same-sex marriage bans in five other states, leading the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the issue.

State Rep. Bob McDermott (R-Ewa, Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point) has gone before the state supreme court to overturn Hawaii's Marriage Equality Act. He maintains voters blocked same-sex marriages by approving a 1998 constitutional amendment.

"If the United States Supreme Court rules that marriage amendments, per se, are unconstitutional, then our case in Hawaii is done," he said.

McDermott said, however, that opponents still have a chance. If states are still allowed to define marriage, then his case can still move forward.

Supporters believe even if the high court rules against them, same-sex marriage will still be legal in Hawaii.

"It would only affect the states that were done by court order, and we're not one of those states," said Golojuch.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has held a hearing on McDermott's lawsuit, but hasn't issued a ruling. "People speculate they're waiting to see what the U.S. Supreme Court does, because the U.S. Supreme Court could moot out all my arguments," said McDermott.

There is one thing both sides agree on: they don't know which way the court will rule.

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