University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name McDermott v. Abercrombie PB-HI-0004
Docket / Court 13-1-002899 ( State Court )
State/Territory Hawaii
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
In August 2013, Governor Neil Abercrombie called for a special session of the legislature to consider and act upon a marriage equality bill.

On October 30, 2013, a member of the Hawaii state legislature filed a lawsuit in the First Circuit Court for the State of Hawaii against the State. ... read more >
In August 2013, Governor Neil Abercrombie called for a special session of the legislature to consider and act upon a marriage equality bill.

On October 30, 2013, a member of the Hawaii state legislature filed a lawsuit in the First Circuit Court for the State of Hawaii against the State. He asked the Court to declare that the Hawaii State Constitution reserves marriage for opposite-sex couples only. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, claimed that an amendment to the State constitution, approved by voters in 1998, precluded the passage of any marriage equality bill by the State legislature. Article 1, Section 23 of the Hawaii State Constitution states that "the legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples." The plaintiff contended that based on the plain meaning of the provision, and the understanding of the voters that approved it, it would be necessary to amend the constitution before any same-sex marriage bills could be enacted.

We only have access to the docket and the complaint for this case. From the docket, it appears that on November 14, 2013, Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto refused to grant the plaintiff a temporary restraining order to prevent the State from granting marriage licenses to gay couples starting on December 2, 2013. Additionally, on January 29, 2014, Judge Sakamoto granted the State's motion for summary judgment, ruling that the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act, which was passed in December 2013, was constitutional.

On May 21, 2014, the plaintiff appealed the case directly to the Hawaii Supreme Court (docket number SCAP-14-0000843). Oral arguments are scheduled to occur on December 18, 2014.

Nate West - 12/02/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) State of Hawaii
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff is a Hawaii state legislator opposed to passage of marriage equality legislation.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Litigation
None
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Links William G. v. Pataki
http://www.bazelon.org/william-g-v-pataki/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Disability Rights New Jersey v. Velez
http://www.bazelon.org/drnj-v-velez/
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[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Williams v. Quinn
http://www.bazelon.org/williams-v-quinn/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States of America v. Commonwealth of Virginia
http://www.bazelon.org/u-s-v-virginia/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States of America v. North Carolina
http://www.bazelon.org/u-s-v-north-carolina/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  U.S. v. Georgia
http://www.bazelon.org/u-s-v-georgia/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  O'Toole v. Cuomo [Formerly DAI v. Cuomo]
http://www.bazelon.org/otoole-v-cuomo/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Amanda D. v. Hassan
http://www.bazelon.org/amanda-d-v-hassan/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
13-1-002899 (State Trial Court)
PB-HI-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/10/2014
Source: State Court Website
General Documents
Complaint
PB-HI-0004-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 10/30/2013
Plaintiff's Lawyers Matsumoto, Robert K. (Hawaii)
PB-HI-0004-0001

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