Five years after suing the state of Hawaii over its refusal to endorse same-sex marriages, Joe Melillo and Pat Lagon are hoping a state judge will see it their way and grant them a license to wed.
“We’re being as positive as we can be,” said Melillo, who joined with his partner and two lesbian couples in filing the lawsuit in 1991.
A state judge is expected to rule this afternoon on whether Hawaii has shown sufficient reason to deny marriage licenses to couples of the same sex. But whatever Circuit Judge Kevin Chang says, it won’t bring the debate anywhere near a conclusion.
Both sides have said they will appeal if Chang rules against them. That will send the case back to the state Supreme Court, which in 1993 ruled that denying of marriage licenses to same-sex couples amounted to gender discrimination in violation of the state Constitution’s Equal Rights Amendment.
That decision prompted Congress to approve a law President Clinton signed in September, saying the federal government will not recognize gay marriages.