Honolulu (KHON2) – A new book chronicles the role that Hawaii played in the long legal battle over same-sex marriage.
Sasha Issenberg wrote ‘The Engagement: America’s Quarter-Century Struggle Over Same-Sex Marriage’ to mark a milestone. “This year is the 30th anniversary of three same-sex couples suing Hawaii for same-sex marriage rights,” explains Issenberg. “In 1993, to everyone’s surprise they win at the Hawaii Supreme Court — the first time any court on earth rules that the fundamental right to marriage could be extended to gays and lesbians. That’s how the idea of gay marriage got introduced to the United States. Everything that’s happened since is because of Hawaii.”
He adds that it was not intended to launch a movement. Issenberg says, “t was clear no one planned for this to the subject of a major civil-rights movement. I tell the story of Bill Woods, who was the leading gay-rights activist in Oahu over several decades, and how he set this legal process into motion. It became clear in my research that he was never planning to build a test case to go into court. Rather, he had ended up in a petty rivalry for control of a Pride parade organizing committee, and then a fight with the ACLU. Bringing the couples to the Health Department to request marriage licenses was just a PR stunt that spiraled out of his control.”
You can find out more about the book and events for the book release online.