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Governor will not defend Hawaii's ban on gay marriage

Gov. Neil Abercrombie: 'This is inequality, and I will not defend it'
Gov. Neil Abercrombie

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie is speaking out against his state's ban in same-sex marriages.

Last year, Abercrombie signed into law a civil unions bill which allows same-sex  couples to have the the same state rights and responsibilities as traditional marriage.

But he believes it is not enough.

'Under current law, a heterosexual couple can choose to enter into a marriage or a civil union,' Abercrombie said in a statement this week. 'A same-sex couple, however, may onlyelect a civil union. My obligation as Governor is to support equality under law. This is inequality, and I will not defend it.'

The governor's statement was made to a federal court on Tuesday (21 February) as part of a lawsuit brought against the state by Natasha Jackson and Janin Kleid of Kapolei.

The couple claim they are being denied their constitutional right to marry and argue that they need to be married in order to get certain federal benefits.

But the governor's stance will not have any impact on the inability of same-sex couples to get married in Hawaii. It is the state's Department of Health which issues marriage licenses and Director Loretta Fuddy said in court she will continue to observe the current law.

'Absent any ruling to the contrary by competent judicial authority regarding constitutionality, the law will be enforced. Because I am being sued for administering the law, I will also defend it,' Fuddy said in court.

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