Advancing Religious Liberty
In a day when elected officials and activist judges in many states across America are maneuvering to undermine the traditional and legal meaning of marriage, the clear thinking of a federal court in Hawaii is as refreshing as an island breeze.
On August 8, the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii upheld that state’s definition of marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman – supporting the will of the people over that of a small group of activists and a recalcitrant governor.
With your encouragement and support, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys defended the law (along with an amendment giving that state’s legislature the power to maintain the “one man, one woman” definition) on behalf of Hawaii Family Forum, which the court allowed to intervene in the case in April.
The court’s ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by three individuals asking that both the law and the amendment be declared unconstitutional. The lawsuit also assailed Hawaii’s “civil unions” law, which became effective January 1, arguing that nothing less than a complete redefinition of marriage would be satisfactory. When Governor Neil Abercrombie stated both publicly and in the lawsuit that he would not defend the state’s marriage law, Hawaii Family Forum – through its Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and local counsel James Hochberg – petitioned to intervene in the case and take up that defense.
“Throughout history and societies, marriage has been connected with procreation and childrearing,” the court said in its order. “It follows that it is not beyond rational speculation to conclude that fundamentally altering the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions might result in undermining the societal understanding of the link between marriage, procreation, and family structure.
“In this situation,” the court continued, “to suddenly constitutionalize the issue of same-sex marriage ‘would short-circuit’ the legislative actions that have been taking place in Hawaii…. Accordingly, because Hawaii’s marriage laws are rationally related to legitimate government interests, they do not violate the federal Constitution.”
“This ruling affirms that protecting and strengthening marriage as the union of one man and one woman is legitimate, reasonable, and good for society,” says Legal Counsel Dale Schowengerdt. “The people of Hawaii adopted a constitutional amendment to uphold marriage, and the court rightly concluded that the democratic process shouldn’t be short-circuited by judicial decree.”
This is a great and important victory – one with far-reaching implications for other courts and the ongoing efforts of Alliance Defending Freedom to defend marriage in many other states around the country. Your prayers, gifts, and encouragement make that defense possible. And, through these cases, you are helping us to shape what tomorrow will look like in America for your children and grandchildren. Please join me in praying for our attorneys, and our allies, as we continue to respond thoughtfully, prayerfully, and effectively to the legal attacks on marriage.