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Posted: Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 11:27 AM HST

Hawaii AG: State has authority on gay marriage

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) Hawaii's attorney general has issued a legal opinion saying state lawmakers can pass a gay marriage bill without amending the Hawaii Constitution.

Attorney General David Louie said Tuesday the Legislature unquestionably has the constitutional authority to consider and enact a bill to be considered during a special session later this month.

Louie's opinion comes in the form of a letter to state Sen. Les Ihara, a Democrat and majority policy leader. Louie says Ihara had questions about the law and criticisms from opponents who say it can't be passed without changing the state's charter document.

Louie says the plain language of the state's constitution gives lawmakers the option to restrict marriage if they want.

Opponents say the constitution goes further, forcing the state to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.

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