Hawaii Constitutional Amendment 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender
Rights in Hawaii
Flag of Hawaii.svg

Baehr v. Lewin (1993)
Baehr v. Miike (1996, 1999)
Constitutional Amendment 2 (1998)
House Bill 444 (2009)
Senate Bill 232 (2011)
Hawaii Marriage Equality Act (2013)

Equality Hawaii

LGBT rights in the United States
Same-sex marriage in Hawaii
Reciprocal beneficiary relationships in Hawaii
LGBT history in Hawaii

Portal LGBT.svg LGBT Portal

Constitutional Amendment 2 of 1998 amended the Constitution of Hawaii, granting the state legislature the power to prevent same-sex marriage from being conducted or recognized in Hawaii. Amendment 2 was the first constitutional amendment adopted in the United States that specifically targeted same-sex partnerships.[1]

In 1993, the Hawaii State Supreme Court ruled in Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44 (Haw. 1993), that refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples was discriminatory under that state's constitution. However, the court did not immediately order the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples; rather, it remanded the case to the trial court and ordered the state to justify its position. After the trial court judge rejected the state's justifications for limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples in 1996 (but stayed his ruling to allow the state to appeal to the Supreme Court again), the Hawaii State Legislature passed a proposed constitutional amendment during the 1997 session that would overrule the Supreme Court's 1993 ruling and allow the Legislature to ban same-sex marriage. This constitutional amendment appeared on the 1998 general election ballot as Constitutional Amendment 2.[2]

The question that appeared on the ballot for voters was:[3]

Shall the Constitution of the state of Hawaii be amended to specify that the Legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples?

Amendment 2 differed from amendments that followed in other states in that it did not write a ban on same-sex marriage into the state's constitution; rather, it allowed the state legislature to enact such a ban.[4] On November 3, 1998, Hawaii voters approved the amendment by a vote of 69.2–28.6%,[5] and the state legislature exercised its power to ban same-sex marriage.[4]

The language added by the amendment reads:[6]

The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.

— Article I, section 23, The Constitution of the State of Hawaii

On October 14, 2013, Hawaii Attorney General David M. Louie stated in a formal legal opinion that Amendment 2 does not prevent the state legislature from legalizing same-sex marriage,[7] which it did in November 2013 with the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act.

Results of vote[edit]

Constitutional amendment
Choice Votes %
Referendum passed Yes 285,384 69.2
No 117,827 28.6
Valid votes 403,211 97.8
Invalid or blank votes 9,309 2.2
Total votes 412,520 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 601,404 68.6
Source: Hawaii Office of Elections (November 4, 1998). "1998 General Election Statewide Summary Report". Retrieved 2013-11-13. 


  1. ^ Lambda Legal. "Baehr v. Miike". lambdalegal.org. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  2. ^ Wilson, Christie (January 24, 2010). "Same-sex marriage issue has endured a long fight in Hawaii". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  3. ^ Gima, Craig (October 7, 1998). "Same-sex vote won't answer all questions". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  4. ^ a b Niesse, Mark (February 22, 2009). "Hawaii is latest civil unions battleground". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  5. ^ General Election 1998, Hawaii Office of Elections, November 3, 1998, retrieved 2010-07-06 
  6. ^ Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau. "Article I: Bill of Rights". The Constitution of the State of Hawaii. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  7. ^ "Haw. Atty. Gen. Op. No. 13-1" (PDF). October 14, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 

See also[edit]