Timeline of how SB1 became a law
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Timeline of how SB1 became a law


Here’s a closer look at what led Hawaii to pass a same-sex marriage law:


>> Hawaii hosts its first gay pride parade, founded by the late Honolulu civil rights activist Bill Woods. Woods wanted to organize a mass commitment ceremony for gay couples but instead asks Joseph Melillo and Patrick Lagon, Ninia Baehr and Genora Dancel, and Antoinette Pregil and Tammy Rodrigues to apply for marriages licenses.


>>  The couples, in Baehr v. Lewin, sue the state for the right to marry, and the Circuit Court rules against them. The case goes to the Hawaii Supreme Court.


>> Now-retired Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice Steven Levinson writes a decision in the Baehr case that shocks the nation: denying same-sex partners the right to marry violates equal protection rights afforded by the state constitution. Levinson rules that the state has to allow same-sex marriages unless it can provide compelling interest as to why it shouldn’t, which sends the case back to Circuit Court.


>> Federal government passes the Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as a heterosexual union.

>> Circuit Judge Kevin Chang rules that the state did not present compelling interest to ban same-sex marriage in its argument that children are better off raised by opposite-sex parents.


>> Nearly 70 percent of people who head to the polls to pass a constitutional amendment giving state lawmakers the power to reserve marriage for a man and a woman.


>> Hawaii Supreme Court rules that the constitutional amendment makes the earlier Baehr v. Lewin decision moot.


>> Massachusetts becomes the first state to legalize same-sex marriage after its Supreme Court rules that a same-sex marriage ban violates the state’s constitution. It becomes only the sixth jurisdiction in the world to do so, behind the Netherlands, Belgium and four Canadian provinces.

>> House Judiciary Committee agrees to hear a civil unions bill that was introduced the previous year but defers it.


>> Civil union bills introduced at the Capitol but aren’t heard or don’t make it out of committee.


>> House Bill 444 becomes the first civil union bill to make it out of committee, passing the House but stalling on the Senate floor.


>> The Senate passes House Bill 444 and sends it back to the House for final approval. The House votes to postpone action indefinitely for the session, but on the last day reconsiders and passes it. Gov. Linda Lingle vetoes the bill.


>> Civil unions legislation, SB 232, sails through the Senate and House and is signed by Abercrombie in February. Civil unions are set to become legal the following January.

>> In December, Natasha N. Jackson and Janin Kleid file a lawsuit against Abercrombie and Department of Health Director Loretta J. Fuddy claiming that the 1998 amendment and the state’s declaration that marriage “shall be only between a man and a woman” violate the due process and equal protection clauses in the U.S. Constitution.


>> Civil unions are offered starting Jan. 1.

>> In August, a federal District Court judge rules in favor of the state in the Jackson v. Abercrombie case. The plaintiffs appeal, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stalls the case in anticipation Hawaii might pass a same-sex marriage law.


>> The Legislature decides not to take up same-sex marriage bills. Supporters hint that the state is awaiting U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

>> In June, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act that restricted marriage to a union between a man and a woman.

>> In September, Abercrombie calls Senate and House members into special session.

>> After a 12-hour hearing in the Senate and more than 55 hours of public testimony in the House, Senators today gave Senate Bill 1 the final stamp of approval needed to send it to the governor’s desk.

>> Abercrombie is expected to quickly sign the bill, and same-sex couples will be able to apply for marriage licenses Dec. 2.

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