Two Hawaii Churches Seek To Block Civil Unions

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Two Christian churches on Oahu and their pastors are seeking a court order to halt Hawaii's civil union law, which goes into effect Jan. 1 — in less than three days.

The plaintiffs argue that the new law violates their civil rights because it fails to exempt clergy and churches from hosting civil union ceremonies.

The complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Hawaii on Wednesday, names Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Health Director Loretta Fuddy.

The plaintiffs are Emmanuel Temple, the House of Praise and Pastor Carl E. Harris, and Lighthouse Outreach Center Assembly of God and Pastor Joel Hunkin.

Hunkin could not be reached for comment, while Harris directed inquiries to attorney Shawn Luiz.

UPDATE

Luiz told Civil Beat that he expects the court to rule on his request for a temporary restraining order on the new law as early as Friday.

Abercrombie spokesman Donalyn Dela Cruz said the complaint has been referred to the state Attorney General's Office.

"They will fully review the complaint," she said. "However, the governor's position remains the same as when he signed Act 1 into law. The state will respond to this complaint in due course, but the implementation of Act 1 will proceed as scheduled."

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