Federal Court Upholds Hawaii Gay Marriage Ban

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A federal judge has ruled that two women in Hawaii can't marry.
Natasha Jackson and Janin Kleid  filed suit against the state's law banning gay marriage, but the judge said legislators and the people have the right to decide who can marry.

"Hawaii's marriage laws are not unconstitutional," U.S. District Court Judge Alan C. Kay's stated in his Wednesday ruling.

"Nationwide, citizens are engaged in a robust debate over this divisive social issue," he said. "If the traditional institution of marriage is to be reconstructed, as sought by the plaintiffs, it should be done by a democratically elected legislature or the people through a constitutional amendment," and not through the courts.

Meanwhile, two churches in the state are challenging that state's civil unions law, arguing that an exemption for churches needs to be widened.

The Lighthouse Outreach Center Assembly of God and Emmanuel Temple, The House of Praise say they should not be forced to permit same-sex ceremonies on their premises. The argue that the current exemption does not go far enough.

According to the current law, churches that perform marriage ceremonies only for their own members don't have to perform civil union ceremonies. However, churches that allow non-members to marry in the churches are not exempt from the law.

Hawaii's civil union law allows both same-sex and opposite-sex couples to enter into civil unions.

State Attorney General John Molay said the churches are using the lawsuit to try to overturn the law.

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