Commission on Sexual Orientation and the Law

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Commission on Sexual Orientation and the Law, was created by the 1994 Hawaii State Legislature to study the issue of same-sex marriage. It was in 1993 that the Hawaii State Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a right to marry unless the state can provide a compelling reason why it should ban such unions. (Associate Justice Steven H. Levinson, Chief Justice Ronald T. Y. Moon, Substitute Associate Justice James Burns, Associate Justice Paula A. Nakayama were the majority in the ruling, while Associate Justice Yoshimi Hayashi and Substitute Associate Justice Walter Heen disagreed.)

In 1994, the Hawaii State Legislature amended the marriage law to specify that marriage is between a man and a woman. Legislators also create the Commission on Sexual Orientation and the Law to study the issue. Gov. John Waihee signs the bill into law two months later.

In December 1995: After four religious members are removed from the commission because of a court challenge, the commission submits a report to the Legislature recommending that it legalize same-sex marriage or establish domestic partnerships as an alternative.

In the November 1998 general election, voters approved an amendment to the Hawaii State Constitution which read, "The Legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples."


  • Thomas Gill, Chairman
  • Morgan Britt
  • L. Ku`umeaaloha Gomes
  • Lloyd James Hochberg, Jr.
  • Nanci Kreidman
  • Marie A. "Toni" Sheldon
  • Bob Stauffer

External Links

  • State of Hawaii Report of the Commission on Sexual Orientation and the Law (1995)
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