Elderly couple temporarily together again pending lawsuit outcome

Elderly couple temporarily together again pending lawsuit outcome

KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kaneohe husband and wife, married for 68 years, are temporarily back together again pending the outcome of a lawsuit.

Noboru Kawamoto, 95, and Elaine Kawamoto, 89, have been living in separate nursing care homes because of a state law that limits Community Care Foster Family Homes to just one non-Medicaid patient per home.

The Kawamotos are both non-Medicaid patients.

A federal judge ruled last week the couple can live together while the courts consider a civil lawsuit they've filed.

It claims the state is violating the Kawamotos's fundamental right to family integrity, which is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

State representative John Mizuno tried to change the law this past year, but his legislation failed.

He's glad the court is letting them be together, for now. "It's beautiful," Mizuno said. "It's more than law, it's all about heart and love and it's everything we got. To be married is a fundamental right unless the state can show a compelling reason, you can't have regulation that divides a married couple. So at the end of the day I think the Kawamoto's win."

In 2009, Mizuno helped pass senate bill 190 into law which allowed a Hilo couple, the Kaides, the right to live in the same care home.

That bill had a sunset date and the law lapsed a few years later.

In the meantime, the Kawamotos's will remain living together until the case is resolved.

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