Historic Hawaii Marriage Trial
The case: Under the equal protection clause of the State's constitution, the Hawaii Supreme Court found that denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples is sex discrimination. It remanded the case to lower court requiring the State either show a "compelling reason," (not just any reason) for this discrimination, or stop discriminating.
Burden of proof: Rests solely on the defendant, the State of Hawaii. Plaintiffs have no burden.
"Compelling reason:" This is the highest burden of proof.
Trial setting: Circuit Court of the State of Hawaii, Judge Kevin S. C. Chang, Sept. 10 - 20, 1996.
What the State Attempted to Show: The State chose as its compelling justification for the discrimination in marriage the proposition that keeping same-sex couples from civil marriage somehow helps children develop "optimally." The State also claimed that two biological parents are the "best" for raising a child.
What the State's Evidence Actually Showed: All State witnesses
conceded that keeping same-sex couples from marrying
The State's witnesses made further concessions in testimony by agreeing that:
What the Plaintiffs Needed to Show: Plaintiffs had no burden of proof, but nevertheless presented evidence which conclusively refuted the State's claims.
What the Plaintiffs' Evidence Showed:
The Plaintiffs called four expert witnesses who, unlike the State's witness, are recognized by their peers and colleagues as the leading national and Hawaii experts int their fields:All of the plaintiffs' experts concurred with the State's witnesses that the most important determinant in raising a happy, healthy and well adjusted child is the quality of parenting the child receives in her or his home -- not the parent's gender, sexual orientation or biological relationship.
The plaintiffs' experts all agreed that marriage would promote the optimal development of children in same-sex families just as it can for adoptive, step-parent or biological families.
The plaintiff's experts all testified that marriage for same-sex couples would strengthen the institution of marriage and society, as well as provide for the optimal development of children in these homes, in direct contradiction to the State's proposition. They also saw no reason, based on their professional opinions, why the State would deny same-sex couples the right to marry.
All the experts, whether testifying for the plaintiffs or State, agreed that there are many reasons people marry other than for the purpose of having or raising children.
All of the plaintiffs' experts rejected the State's claim that there
is one "best" type of family. In their view, the claim is unsupported
by the evidence and offensive to the many types of families that
exist in Hawaii and the nation.
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