Former Attorney General Mark Bennett: It’s time for marriage equality in Hawaii

November 4, 2013

AGBennettFormer Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett is urging Hawaii lawmakers to pass marriage equality in special session! In his testimony submitted to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Bennett — – the Republican who served from 2003-2010, most recently under Gov. Linda Lingle –┬ásays extending marriage to gay and lesbian couples “would be right, fair, just and consistent with the ideals and principles upon which our nation was founded.”

Attorney General Bennett’s full testimony in favor of SB1 is below:

TESTIMONY OF MARK J . BENNETT ON SB 1

Senate Cormnittee on the Judiciary and Labor

Chair Hee, Vice-Chair Shimabukuro, and Members:

I respectfully write in support of changing the law so as to allow same-gender couples the right to marry in Hawaii.

This would be right, just, fair, and consistent with the ideals and principles upon which our nation was founded.

Some have argued that marriage historically is between men and women. I have no reason to quarrel with that view of history, but that is not a reason to stay with the past. Mores change, as do views of what is just, right, and fair. History should not be a bar to fairer marriage laws.

Other reasons advanced for denying same-gender couples the ability to marry are similarly unconvincing to me. And, I believe none counterbalance the interests of justice promoted by allowing same-gender couples the same marriage rights possessed by opposite-gender couples.

Finally, some have suggested that the Legislature should pass the question to the electorate, through a proposed constitutional amendment. Yet, that is exactly what occurred in 1998, when the people approved a constitutional amendment that could have, but did not, ban same-gender marriage. Instead, the people gave the power to the Legislature to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples, thereby also giving the Legislature the power not to do so.

We are a nation and a state cormnitted to justice and equality. Both of those principles would be well-served by changing the law so as to allow same-gender couples the right to marry in Hawaii.

I respectfully urge you to change the law and allow same-gender ~couples the right to marry.