Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced this afternoon that he will call the Legislature back into special session, set for Oct. 28, to consider a bill on same-sex marriage.
The push for such legislation by way of a special session increased in the aftermath a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in June that enabled legally married gay couples to receive federal benefits. Currently, same-sex couples in Hawaii can enter into civil unions and receive the same rights and benefits as marriage under state law but are not entitled to federal benefits.
State House Democrats have met over the past two weeks to count votes and determine if support existed to pass a measure. Senate Democrats are scheduled to meet later this week, although leaders have said they have enough votes to pass the Marriage Equity Bill.
Abercrombie had previously said he was waiting for a clear signal from the Legislature before calling the lawmakers back for a special session. Last week, he said he believed he had all the information he needed to make his decision.
At a news conference held early this afternoon, Abercrombie announced that the bill state lawmakers will address during the special session will be posted on the governor’s website. In addition, the administration will post pertinent information tied to questions about civil rights and other matters.
Abercrombie said he believes that the bill has the support needed in both the House and Senate to pass.