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Senate will pass same-sex marriage bill on Tuesday

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 07:20 a.m. HST, Nov 10, 2013

The state Senate on Tuesday will agree to the state House's version of a marriage equality bill and send it to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature.

Sen. Clayton Hee (D, Heeia-Laie-Waialua), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee, announced Saturday that he would recommend that the Senate accept the House's changes to the bill, which expanded a religious exemption.

Abercrombie is expected to sign the marriage equality bill into law shortly after he receives it from the Senate. If Abercrombie signs the bill before Nov. 20, Hawaii would be the 15th state plus the District of Columbia to allow same-sex couples to marry. Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois has announced that he would sign a marriage equality bill into law at a ceremony in Chicago on Nov. 20.

"There are very few opportunities to participate in government in decisions that define your career, and this is one of those decisions that will define the careers of all of the members in the Legislature," Hee told reporters at a news conference where he appeared with Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria (D, Kakaako-McCully-Waikiki).

"Although Hawaii was not the first to enact same-sex marriage, what shouldn't be lost is Hawaii was the first -- in the Baehr v. Lewin lawsuit -- that started the same-sex marriage discussion nationally."

The state Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that denying same-sex couples marriage licenses was a violation of equal protection under the state Constitution. The court's ruling influenced Congress to approve the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which restricted marriage to heterosexual couples, and prompted Hawaii voters in 1998 to approve a constitutional amendment that gave the state Legislature the power to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act was an unconstitutional violation of due process and equal protection, allowing same-sex couples who are legally married to receive federal benefits. The court left it up to the states to decide whether to legalize gay marriage.

Abercrombie responded to the court's ruling by calling the Legislature into special session to consider a marriage equality bill.

The House approved the marriage equality bill late Friday in a 30-19 vote after overcoming procedural maneuvers to delay action. Hee predicted that the Senate vote on Tuesday would be 21-4 if all senators are available to vote.

Galuteria announced that security procedures for the Senate floor session on Tuesday would be similar to Friday's House session, where advocates for gay marriages and opponents were separated outside the state Capitol.

Under the bill, gay couples could get married in Hawaii as soon as Dec. 2. Clergy would have the right to refuse to perform gay weddings. Churches and other religious organizations would be able to decline to provide goods, services and facilities for gay weddings and celebrations if it violates religious beliefs.

State Rep. Bob McDermott (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point), who opposes gay marriage, sent Abercrombie a letter on Friday stating that he would file a temporary restraining order in Circuit Court to prevent the state from issuing marriage licences.

McDermott believes that the 1998 constitutional amendment that gave the Legislature the power to define marriage as between heterosexual couples trumps any statutory change to the law. He insists that another vote by the people is necessary to redefine marriage.

Judge Karl Sakamoto has said he would hear McDermott's challenge after the marriage equality bill becomes law.

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mreduardo wrote:
Awesome! Bravo to the Hawaii Legislature and Governor Abercrombie. America is blessed to have Hawaii's leadership for equality!
on November 9,2013 | 01:31PM
Kuniarr wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 9,2013 | 01:39PM
localguy wrote:
Kuniarr - You just can't accept change can you? The world as many states are moving to accept SSM. It is a tide that will not be stopped, ever growing stronger. Sad to say the world is passing you by, leaving you in the dust. Truly a product of the Nei's failing education system.
on November 9,2013 | 02:10PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Thanks for clarifying Senator Hee.
on November 9,2013 | 01:47PM
jotobuddy123 wrote:
I suppose the Star Advertiser and all the local news media will run a heatfelt story about the very first gay couple to marry in Hawaii. A warm, heartfelt, chicken skin story about a couple who just wanted to marry each other to show the whole world of their undying love for one another. Since the first gay marriage will happen "as early as December 2" I can see more news stories covering the first Christmas (oh sorry religious term) fthe isrt Winter Solstice with the first gay married couple in Hawaii. Then of couse New Years Eve wirth the first gay couple of Hawaii. Finally a report about the First Family - our President and company - spending New Years Day with the First Gay Couple of Hawaii. PLEASE! ENOUGH ALREADY STOP THE OVERBEARING COVERAGE ON GAY MARRIAGE! THEY WON!! GET MARRIED AND MOVE ON!!!!! I'M TIRED OF ALL OF THIS BS!!!!
on November 9,2013 | 02:11PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Don't read it if you're tired of it.
on November 9,2013 | 02:19PM
jotobuddy123 wrote:
My point was and is that the story is over. Gays can Marry in Hawaii. The Gov will sign into law. The issue garnered more coverage that it needed. EVERYONE knew that when the special session was called, the bill would pass. Why do we have to beat a dead horse. Thos who are against gay mariage lost! ENOUGH MEDIA COVERAGE!
on November 9,2013 | 02:51PM
username_required wrote:
CHANGE YOUR MOUSE SETTINGS! It's set on "auto-click on gay news."
on November 9,2013 | 08:26PM
wiliki wrote:
Got this in email... Rep Kaniela Ing in voting for the bill....


on November 9,2013 | 04:22PM
thanks4reading wrote:
To all on both sides. On Wednesday, the sun will rise, the world will turn and nothing different is going to impact our lives or our family. Let's move beyond the this issue.
on November 9,2013 | 02:40PM
sooregonian wrote:
Thanks4 -- one impact will be economic. Lost revenue as people vacation in other traditional family friendly destinations. Gays will expand their footprint into formerly family-oriented parks, beaches and other popular attractions. Just like "left" coast, they will be proud and loud now with the tradewinds at their back. The LGBT folks have tremendous purchasing power but not the numbers to make up what will likely be staggering financial losses. Unintended consequences (like obamacare) as it plays out this decade. A reputation as a homeless haven AND a pacific playground for gays spells trouble in paradise.
on November 9,2013 | 06:31PM
Eradication wrote:
A totally ridiculous comment. You have no facts to base your comments on. Look around, people of all makes, shapes, color and sexual preferences have been living side by side for years. Are you so afraid of change that you have to make up assumptions? Embrace your fears and you will be much happier in life. And besides, God will be pleased with you.
on November 9,2013 | 11:13PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
Yes, on Wednesday we will be reminded that Democracy is false in Hawaii and the tyranny of a single party trumps all. What will the next issue be to undermine and oppose the will of the peasants? Wait and see..
on November 10,2013 | 04:22AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
I'm glad this will be resolved. In 3 months we will forget all about it. By next year the 40% of us who vote will re-elect the same folks no matter what side they were on. The 60% who don't vote will wonder what happened. Life will go on.
on November 9,2013 | 03:30PM
jotobuddy123 wrote:
Well said!!!!
on November 9,2013 | 03:50PM
wiliki wrote:
I disagree.... this will be again fought out in the next election. Republicans never learn. At least, Democrats do learn-- even those from conservative Christian backgrounds.


on November 9,2013 | 04:26PM
MichaelG wrote:
This is a wonderful day for all who have fault hard to bring equality. Congratulations to my gay friends and my you all have happiness in your new marriages
on November 9,2013 | 03:45PM
kainalu wrote:
I think McDermott will be challenged to win Ewa Beach again. Specifically to those people, he was sort of an unknown. Now they know - this is the old bully that served before from another District a decade or more ago. It will be interesting to see who challenges him next election, and what those results might be.
on November 9,2013 | 03:57PM
wiliki wrote:
I agree... He'll have to defend his lies in the upcoming election.
on November 9,2013 | 04:28PM
jimbone wrote:
Don't matter who he runs against, even a 18 yr old straight out of high school. Don't vote for a lier. So is the midget out.
on November 9,2013 | 05:44PM
sooregonian wrote:
@Wiliki -- As he bravely defended the sacred rights of the historical definition of marriage -- which was working just fine for the majority in Hawaii -- I and others will defend his seat...whatever it takes!
on November 9,2013 | 05:57PM
jimbone wrote:
Who cares who you marry, man or women. Just don't push your stuff on to others that don't believe in what your doing. And that should be for people that have businesses and provide services, don't push your stuff unto them, with that said good for the same sex couples.
on November 9,2013 | 05:41PM
sooregonian wrote:
State Rep.McDermott... you have gravitas for fighting this bromance bill. You sir and the other brave house and senate members who stand for traditional families and the historical definition of marriage are indefatigable warriors. We salute you! ( Not all politicians are equal.) A tsunami of smut will wash ashore from the west coast and beyond if the islands become a playground for the LGBT community and their enablers. This horrific bill is a statutory rape of traditional ohana and must be defeated.
on November 9,2013 | 05:50PM
2NDC wrote:
Sad day for the people of Hawaii. :-(
on November 9,2013 | 06:48PM
9ronboz wrote:
on November 9,2013 | 08:50PM
kapoleitalkstory wrote:
It is a GREAT day!
on November 10,2013 | 12:05AM
Kahu Matu wrote:
on November 10,2013 | 04:24AM
jotobuddy123 wrote:
"Although Hawaii was not the first to enact same-sex marriage, what shouldn't be lost is Hawaii was the first -- in the Baehr v. Lewin lawsuit -- that started the same-sex marriage discussion nationally." This is something to be proud of??? I'm almost sure that people nationally don't give a rip that the same-sex marriage discussion started in Hawaii - in 1993. Gay marriage has been in discussion long before that. Plus, is that something we really want to take credit for?
on November 9,2013 | 07:41PM
LanaUlulani wrote:
Likewise many of them will lose their job in the Senate in 2014.

on November 10,2013 | 05:24AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
No, they probably won't. Though it would be nice if the faux Democrat Mr. Gabbard did.
on November 10,2013 | 09:45AM
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