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First Circuit (Oʻahu) Circuit Court, Downtown Honolulu District Court, and Appellate Courts
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Oral Argument before the Hawaii Supreme Court

No. SCAP-14-0000843, Thursday December 18, 2014, 11:15 a.m.

REPRESENTATIVE BOB MCDERMOTT, GARRET HASHIMOTO, WILLIAM E.K. KUMIA, and DAVID ANGDON, Respondents/Plaintiffs-Appellants, vs. GOVERNOR NEIL ABERCROMBIE and LINDA ROSEN, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, STATE OF HAWAI`I, Petitioners/Defendants-Appellees.

The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:

Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali`iolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Attorneys for Petitioners:

Deirdre Marie-Iha, Donna H. Kalama, and John F. Molay, Deputy Attorneys General

Attorneys for Respondents:

Robert K. Matsumoto and Shawn A. Luiz

NOTE: Certificate of Recusal, by Associate Justice Sabrina S. McKenna, filed 06/23/14.

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Jeannette H. Castagnetti, in place of McKenna, J., recused, filed 07/11/14.

NOTE: Order granting Application for Transfer, filed 07/16/14.

COURT: MER, C.J.; PAN, RWP, & MDW, JJ.; and Circuit Court Judge Castagnetti, in place of McKenna, J., recused.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Respondents/Plaintiffs-Appellants Bob McDermott, in his official capacity as State Representative, Garret Hashimoto, William E.K. Kumia, and David Langdon (collectively Respondents) appealed from the Circuit Court of the First Circuit’s April 21, 2014 judgment in favor of Petitioners/ Defendants-Appellees Neil Abercrombie, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Hawai`i, and Linda Rosen, in her official capacity as Director of the State of Hawai`i Department of Health (collectively Petitioners). Petitioners timely filed an application for transfer to this court.

This case involves Respondents’ challenge to Hawaii’s Marriage Equality Act, which the legislature signed into law on November 13, 2013. The law changed the definition of marriage in Hawai`i to allow couples to marry without regard to their gender. While the legislature was considering the bill, Respondents filed a motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, which would have prevented the legislature from issuing any marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The circuit court denied this motion, and later granted summary judgment in favor of Petitioners.

On appeal to this court, Respondents contend that the trial court erred in denying their motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, and in granting the Petitioners’ motion for summary judgment.

Respondents argue, inter alia, that the Hawai`i Marriage Equality Act is unconstitutional because in 1998, the people of Hawai`i voted to amend article 1, section 23 of the Hawai`i Constitution to state that “the legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.” Respondents argue that the intent of this amendment was to constitutionally reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples, so the legislature was not authorized to pass the Hawai`i Marriage Equality Act. In response, Petitioners argue that article 1, section 23 allows the legislature to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples, but does not require it to do so. Petitioners also argue that Respondents lacked standing to bring this lawsuit.