University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Amsterdam v. Abercrombie PB-HI-0007
Docket / Court 1:13-CV-00649 ( D. Haw. )
State/Territory Hawaii
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On November 25, 2013, a Native Hawaiian resident of Hawaii filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii against the state. The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, asked the court to enjoin a recently enacted state law that allows same-sex couples to marry, claiming that that ... read more >
On November 25, 2013, a Native Hawaiian resident of Hawaii filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii against the state. The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, asked the court to enjoin a recently enacted state law that allows same-sex couples to marry, claiming that that the beliefs and culture of Native Hawaiians were violated by the Hawaiian Marriage Equality Act of 2013.

Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that Native Hawaiians had a special relationship with the state of Hawaii and the United States Federal Government. He alleged that this relationship was supported by the Hawaii Admission Act of 1959, the Native Hawaiian Education Act of 1994, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978, and many others. He believes that Native Hawaiians have an express right to preserve their culture, value, languages, and religious customs, and that the practice of same-sex marriage is against the moral values of the majority of Native Hawaiians. He claims that the state has breached its duty to the Hawaiian people, and that a court-ordered injunction of the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013 is a necessary step towards repairing the breach.

The district court (Judge Susan Oki Mollway) did not grant an injunction, and instead issued an order denying as moot all pending orders. The court stated that the plaintiff did not have standing to bring this claim as he was not able to present a particularized injury that he would suffer or any clear constitutional claims that were violated. The plaintiff appealed the decision to the Ninth District Court of Appeals where the case is still ongoing as of April 16, 2015. The Court has received all the parties' briefs and may be waiting to issue a decision pending the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (PB-OH-0003 in this Clearinghouse), which is expected in June 2015.

Megan Dolan - 07/17/2014
David Hamstra - 04/16/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Free Exercise Clause
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
Religion discrimination
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
American Indian/Alaskan Native
Asian/Pacific Islander
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Hawaii
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff was a Native Hawaiian resident of the state of Hawaii who claimed that the beliefs and culture of Native Hawaiians were violated by the Hawaiian Marriage Equality Act of 2013 which legalized same-sex marriage in Hawaii.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple’s 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:13-cv-00649-SOM-KSC (D. Haw.) 03/13/2014
PB-HI-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 11/25/2013
PB-HI-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Dismissing Case; Order Denying as Moot All Pending Motions 11/26/2013 (2013 WL 6198183) (D. Haw.)
PB-HI-0007-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint 12/24/2013
PB-HI-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion to Dismiss and Denying as Moot All Pending Motions 02/19/2014 (2014 WL 689764) (D. Haw.)
PB-HI-0007-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Chang, Kevin S.C. (D. Haw.) [Magistrate]
PB-HI-0007-9000
Mollway, Susan Oki (D. Haw.)
PB-HI-0007-0003 | PB-HI-0007-0004 | PB-HI-0007-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers Molay, John F. (Hawaii)
PB-HI-0007-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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