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Baehr v. Miike

The Burden Of Proof Is On The State

Following its 1993 ruling, the state supreme court remanded the case to the circuit court. Because the high court had found reason to agree with the plaintiff's contentions regarding the unconstitutionality of 572-1's application in the present case, Hawaii law dictated that now it was incumbent on the defendant to prove its use of the statute constitutional. In other words, the burden of proof was on the director of the Department of Health to demonstrate that his forbidding any marriages other than opposite-sex unions "furthers compelling state interests and is narrowly drawn to avoid unnecessary abridgments of constitutional rights." Originally scheduled for September of 1995, the circuit court trial was postponed due to a vote on same-sex marriage laws in the state legislature. The legislative session, however, failed to produce any changes in the laws, and the case finally came before Judge Kevin S. C. Chang of the First Circuit Court of Hawaii in September of 1996.

By now the case had generated considerable attention, and numerous entities filed amici curiae briefs. The lines were sharply drawn: on one side were the Christian Legal Society, the Hawaii Catholic Society, and the Mormon Church, which filed briefs for the defendant along with eleven states; on the other were the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), along with Lambda, a legal defense fund for gay rights. Several other groups filed briefs.

As the trial began, Miike held that he would prove five "compelling state interests" behind 572-1:

protecting the health and welfare of children and other persons . . . fostering procreation within a marital setting . . . securing or assuring recognition of Hawaii marriages in other jurisdictions . . . protecting the State's public fisc [treasury] from the reasonably foreseeable effects of State approval of same-sex marriage in the laws of Hawaii . . . [and] protecting civil liberties, including the reasonably foreseeable effects of State approval of same-sex marriages, on its citizens.
Most significant among these, from the defendant's pre-trial memorandum, was the first. To support his position that legalized same-sex marriages would have an adverse effect on children, he presented testimony from four expert witnesses.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1995 to PresentBaehr v. Miike - Same Sex Marriages, The Burden Of Proof Is On The State, Both Sides Marshal Their Experts