Hawaii residents, church deacons react to legalization of same-sex marriage

Hawaii residents, church deacons react to legalization of same-sex marriage

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A historic moment for America as same-sex marriage becomes legal in all 50 states.

Before Friday's Supreme Court ruling, gay marriage had been recognized in 36 states, Hawaii included. Still, same-sex marriage supporters in the Aloha State are celebrating.

"I was like, 'Oh! Look at this! The law passed.' Ooh, I just got chicken skin now," said June Dillinger, a gay marriage officiant.

"I started crying. It was really exciting. I have friends who have been in serious relationships for 10-plus years, but that's not as serious as someone who just starts dating for a week? It's nice that it has the same recognition," said gay marriage supporter Melanie Pomerantz.

The Attorney General's Office says nearly 4,000 same-sex couples have married in Hawaii since the Marriage Equality Act went into effect in December 2013. They said about two-thirds of those couples were non-residents. Still, Dillinger says the new rule won't affect her business.

"There are people who have been waiting their whole lives. And even though it may have become legal in their state as it did, they've saved their whole lives, they're gonna come to Hawaii," Dillinger said.

What it may affect are marriages in the Catholic Church. Deacon Walter Yoshimitsu with the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu says despite Friday's decision, his position hasn't changed.

"We've had religious rules in place for eons, and now to say we have to accept that, I don't think we will," said Yoshimitzu.

That could mean potential lawsuits for the church. Former Lieutanent Governor Duke Aiona, a staunch gay marriage opponent, says the Supreme Court's ruling forever changes the definition of marriage.

He released a statement saying in part, "Today's decision threatens to create more discrimination and inequality than it intended to solve."

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