Hawaii Governor Calls Special Session for Marriage Equality Bill
Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie announced today that he'll call a special session of the legislature to consider a marriage equality bill on October 28, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports:
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 a bill recognizing same-sex marriage in Hawaii.
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.
The AP adds:
The bill is the culmination of 20 years of discussion, Abercrombie told reporters during a news conference at the Hawaii Capitol.
"Every variation on a view with regard to the issue of marriage and equitable treatment for those engaged in marriage has been aired, has been analyzed, has been discussed," Abercrombie said. "No one has been left out or has been marginalized in the process to this point."
Abercrombie acknowledged that some people will be against the bill because they disagree with the concept of gay marriage, but he said it includes provisions — including a religious exemption — to protect First Amendment rights.
Hawaii would be the 14th state to offer marriage equality, along with D.C.