By Andrew Harmon
Originally published on Advocate.com May 01 2012 8:18 AM ET
A Hawaii social conservative group can defend the state’s anti-gay marriage law in court, a federal judge has ruled.
In a suit filed late last year by a lesbian couple denied equal marriage rights, Gov. Neil Abercrombie declined to defend the state’s constitutional ban on marriage equality, saying in a February statement, “Under current law, a heterosexual couple can choose to enter into a marriage or a civil union. A same-sex couple, however, may only elect a civil union. My obligation as Governor is to support equality under law. This is inequality, and I will not defend it.”
The state’s Department of Health, which is also named in the suit, continues to enforce the law.
The Hawaii Family Forum has now stepped in, claiming in court documents, “As a fervent and material supporter of Hawai’i’s marriage law and amendment, as well as a public interest representative of the majority of Hawai’i’s voters who passed Hawai’i’s marriage amendment, [Hawaii Family Forum] has a significantly protectable interest in those laws,” attorneys for the group wrote in a March court brief.
Hawaii Family Forum is represented by the antigay Alliance Defense Fund, which has been involved in legal battles over marriage equality across the country.
Last year Abercrombie signed a civil unions bill into law.
Here, more information on the case, Jackson v. Abercrombie.