HONOLULU – Today the United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry under the United States Constitution in a ruling that brings marriage equality to all fifty States.
“The State of Hawai‘i filed an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in these cases. Today’s ruling means that same-sex couples who marry in Hawai‘i are married everywhere in this country,” said Attorney General Doug Chin.”
Nearly 4000 same-sex couples have married in Hawaiʻi since our marriage equality act went into effect in December 2013. About two-thirds of those couples are non-residents. This means that before the court’s action today, depending on where they live, a couple who married in Hawai‘i might not have had their marriage recognized when they returned home. As a result of today’s ruling, however, the marriages entered by same-sex couples in Hawaiʻi must be recognized by every other State.
Attorney General Chin further explained “For same-sex couples who married in Hawaiʻi and reside here, today’s decision does not alter the recognition of their marriage, as provided in Hawai‘i’s marriage equality act. But the Supreme Court’s decision means that Hawai‘i residents will not lose the protections of marriage when they travel to the mainland.”
Hawaiʻi has been involved in the debate over marriage equality for decades. In 1993, the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court decided Baehr v. Lewin, which was the first court decision in the country to acknowledge that same-sex couples’ right to marry who they love is a matter of constitutional law. Hawaiʻi subsequently recognized same-sex relationships as reciprocal beneficiaries, then later civil unions, and finally marriage in 2013.
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For more information, contact:
Joshua A. Wisch
Special Assistant to the Attorney General