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Gay marriage bill advances to final Senate vote Wednesday

By Star-Advertiser & Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:40 a.m. HST, Oct 30, 2013

The state Senate advanced a bill to legalize gay marriage Tuesday to a final floor vote that would send the legislation to the House.

The final Senate vote is planned for Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. Senate Bill 1 is expected to pass easily in the Senate, then travel to the House where its prospects are less certain.

The House Judiciary and Finance committees have scheduled a 10 a.m. hearing Thursday on the measure. If the House makes changes to the bill and passes it, the measure would return to the Senate for another vote.

The bill passed its second Senate reading today with no amendments and no attempts to try to block it from moving forward.

The brief Senate floor session was far different than the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee hearing Monday that lasted nearly 12 hours, with nearly 4,000 pages of written testimony and about 400 people testifying in person.

Late Monday night, the committee voted 5-2 to advance the bill to the full Senate after the marathon hearing in which hundreds of testifiers explored themes of equality and religious liberty, first-class citizenship and the word of God.

The committee vote came after the debate over marriage equality engulfed the state Capitol during the first day of a special legislative session called by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

"It's historic in the sense that there's a huge paradigm shift, but it's a shift that, in my opinion, bends the arc of justice towards the right way," Sen. Clayton Hee (D, Heeia-Laie-Waialua), the committee's chairman, said after Monday night's vote. "It takes us to a new level of equal rights."

Hee said 40 percent of written testimony came in favor of the bill, while 60 percent opposed gay marriage or the special session being used to consider the legislation.


For the full, premium story on Monday's Judiciary Committee hearing, click here.

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