Marriage and Civil Unions, Same-Sex

In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in Baehr v. Lewin (852 P.2d 44) that the state's refusal to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples amounted to “state-sanctioned discrimination against any person in the exercise of his or her civil rights on the basis of sex.” This inaugurated a worldwide contest over the role of law in social policy related to antidiscrimination legislation and the status of lesbians, gays, and other sexual minorities. Although the Hawaii Supreme Court's holding proved politically provocative, its argument was, in many ways, doctrinally conservative. Legally, the court drew on extensive federal precedent mandating gender and racial equality (particularly the analogy of the ban on same-sex marriage to statutes criminalizing interracial marriage that were struck down by the U.S. Supreme ...

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