Template:SSM Constitutional Amendment 2 of 1998 is a so-called "defense of marriage amendment" that amended the Constitution of Hawaii by granting the state legislature the power to prevent same-sex marriages from being conducted or recognized in Hawaii. Amendment 2 was the first defense of marriage amendment to be adopted in the United States.

In 1993, the Hawaii State Supreme Court ruled in Baehr v. Lewin that refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples was sex discrimination under that state's constitution.[1] However, the court did not immediately order the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples; rather, it stayed its ruling and ordered the state to justify its sex discrimination. This ruling galvanized opposition to same-sex marriage in the state and around the country and led to the adoption of Amendment 2.

Amendment 2 differed from amendments that followed in other states in that it did not write a ban on same-sex marriage into the state's constitution; rather, it allowed the state legislature to enact such a ban.[2] In November 1998, 69% of Hawaii voters approved the amendment, and the state legislature exercised its power to ban same-sex marriage.[2][3]

The text of the amendment states:

The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.[4]


  1. "Special Report: 'I do'" Honolulu Star-Bulletin January 22, 1997
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Homosexual (same-sex) marriages in Hawaii" Robinson, 1997-JUL-11, updated 2001-DEC-2
  3. "Same-sex marriage ballot measures: Hawaii gives legislature power to ban same-sex marriage" AllPolitics. November 3, 1998
  4. Hawai`i State Constitution, Article I, section 23, Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau. (Accessed 30 November 2006).


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