Judge upholds gay marriage law


HONOLULU — A Hawaii judge has ruled the state’s new gay marriage law is legal, despite a challenge saying voters thought they barred same-sex marriage 15 years ago in the state Constitution.

Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto said Thursday that the 1998 amendment didn’t force the Legislature to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Sakamoto says it doesn’t factor into lawmakers’ ability to allow gay couples to wed.

The challenge brought by Rep. Bob McDermott centered on the amendment saying the Hawaii Legislature would have the power to reserve marriage only to opposite-sex couples. McDermott’s lawyer argued voters thought that phrasing meant they were voting against gay marriage.

Sakamoto says even if the language was unclear, lawmakers still have the right to make laws.