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Hawaii lawmakers push for marriage amendments

    Tulsi Gabbard's parents, Senator Mike Gabbard and mother, Carol Gabbard listen as Senator Daniel Inouye speaks on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at the Japanese Cultural Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

A bipartisan group of 15 Hawaii representatives is advocating for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.  

If passed, the amendment would be placed on the ballot during the November 2014 election.

Sen. Mike Gabbard, a Democrat, is proposing a similar bill in the Senate.

A bill to legalize same-sex marriage was also introduced in the House on Thursday. Rep. Faye Hanohano, a Democrat, is the bill’s sole sponsor.

Rep. John Mizuno, a Democrat from Kalihi, introduced two bills Thursday regarding marriage. Both propose constitutional amendments, but while one bill legalizes same-sex marriage, the other limits marriage to heterosexual couples.

Mizuno says that he personally supports traditional marriage but wants voters to make the decision.

“I’m not afraid to let the people decide,” he said.

Gabbard says that a ballot initiative would be the most democratic way to resolve the issue.

Gabbard is a former Republican who campaigned against promoting homosexuality in the 1990s. He pushed for a constitutional amendment giving the state Legislature the power to limit marriage to a man and a woman. The amendment passed in 1998.

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