Federal Court Rules State Can Regulate Beach Weddings

June 6, 2012, 12:20 PM HST · Updated June 6, 1:51 PM
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State of Hawaii will continue to permit beach weddings. File photo.

By Sonia Isotov

News agencies are reporting that the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld the State of Hawaii’s right to regulate commercial weddings on public beaches.

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The court ruled that the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) did have the right to require beach weddings be permitted, however, the DLNR does not have the right to revoke or modify the permit at any time.

A group of wedding planners had filed a lawsuit arguing that the permit requirement violated the First Amendment. The court ruled that requiring the permit did not violate the First Amendment; however, having the right to revoke or modify the permit at any time did violate the First Amendment.

The court ruled in favor of the permit requirement as it served a significant governmental interest by protecting the state’s public beaches.

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