Gay Marriages on Hold for at Least One Year Judge Awaits Decision from Supreme Court

Article excerpt

A day after ordering Hawaii to allow gay marriages, a judge put the ruling on hold Wednesday while the state appeals.

The stay will remain in effect until the state Supreme Court rules, meaning that gay couples will be unable to marry in Hawaii for at least a year, if at all.

Circuit Judge Kevin Chang agreed there would be confusion if gay couples got married and then the Hawaii Supreme Court overturned his ruling. "We kind of expected it, but we're not happy with it," said Joseph Melillo, who sued along with his partner, Pat Lagon, and two other gay couples. On Tuesday, Chang said Hawaii had failed to show any compelling state interest in denying gay couples the right to marry. He ordered the state to begin issuing them licenses. It was the first such ruling by a judge in the United States. The dispute prompted passage of a federal law that says the U.S. government will not recognize gay marriages and allows states to refuse to recognize such unions licensed in other states. In addition, 16 states have enacted laws denying recognition of gay marriages. Rick Eichor, Hawaii's deputy attorney general, sought the stay. …