Gay Marriage | Hawaii | Neil Abercrombie | News

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:

AbercrombieState 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.

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  1. Will they beat New Mexico to be state 14?

    Posted by: Ken | Sep 9, 2013 10:03:35 PM

  2. Good luck! And Hawai'i could use those tourist dollars to become a destination for gay weddings! Aloha.

    Posted by: Kane | Sep 9, 2013 10:20:53 PM

  3. Wear your grass skirt. Music by Airport Muzak.

    Posted by: Joe | Sep 9, 2013 10:29:37 PM

  4. Yeah. Follow in the path of millions of heterosexuals before you. Honeymoon in Hawaii. What a wonderful life.

    Posted by: Dan | Sep 9, 2013 10:42:20 PM

  5. One of the drafts of the bill (not clear if it's the latest draft or an earlier draft) says that no person shall be required to "solemnize" a marriage if it's against his or her religious conviction. It's unclear if protection this would allow government officials (state judges) to refuse to perform a same-sex marriage (or an inter-religious marriage, or whatever), or if this protection is limited to private officials (like ministers, etc). It would be helpful to get an answer to that question.

    Either way, it will be great to add Hawaii to the list of equality states. Maybe New Mexico by NM Supreme Court decision in a month or two. Now, if only Illinois and New Jersey would come on board.

    Posted by: MiddleoftheRoader | Sep 9, 2013 10:42:31 PM

  6. The veto session in Illinois is from late October to early November. In New Jersey the summary judgment will likely come soon.

    Posted by: Stefan | Sep 9, 2013 10:52:35 PM

  7. Governor Abercrombie said that now is the time to order the special session and try to move on past this issue now, because they want to focus on other pressing issues in the coming months and also for tax reasons.

    Supposedly the bill has strong religious exemptions, because that's the only way it would pass. Governor Abercrombie said "I hope so" in response to there being enough votes in the Hawaii House but he believes that it will pass.

    We'll see what those religious exemptions involve but in the meantime....hopefully Hawaii makes marriage equality a reality!

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Sep 9, 2013 10:58:16 PM

  8. Interesting that Gov. Abercrombie just got a serious primary challenge from the Inouye wing of the party. If this helps him get reelected I've got no problem with it... as long as the legislation passes.

    Posted by: Larry McD | Sep 9, 2013 11:34:54 PM

  9. The guy running against him for that primary challenge is for marriage equality as well so there is no fear of an anti-gay Democrat taking over.
    On passing this,since DOMA has fallen,it has been made clear that civil unions aren't equal to marriage and couples in Hawaii are at a real disadvantage compared ot those in the mainland.
    Pass it and make it legal.

    Posted by: Kevin | Sep 10, 2013 12:21:31 AM

  10. Having spent my college years (UOH) and then some in Honolulu I can say that it is dominated by the Japanese who do not approve of gay anything - unless it is porn (one of their biggest industries) and even then they mask the private parts. Thus, I assume dealing with the Japanese tourist dollar has a lot to do with why a state like Hawaii would not have been the first to approve of gay marriage. Real Hawaiians have no such hangups and have always openly approved of same sex relationships.

    I thought, at one time, that I would stay in Honolulu because of the weather and the abundance of men but by the end of college I couldn't wait to get off the island. It's referred to Island Fever. You lose track of everything going on in the mainland and the cost of living is much higher than San Francisco, my hometown. It was a pleasure to return home and have never had the desire to go back.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Sep 10, 2013 12:48:23 AM

  11. NJ? Not with that republican prick in office

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Sep 10, 2013 1:12:19 AM

  12. Oh Hawai'i, you started this whole thing! lol
    Good luck!

    Posted by: marco | Sep 10, 2013 1:41:03 AM

  13. one correction, japanese americans were among the first to sign on for glbt equality, over 20 years ago. with the japanese as with every other ethnicity, the older, the narrower the views. the forces that stopped progress here in hawaii consisted primarily of LDS money and influence, with the support of roman catholic and evangelical churches. prop 8 wasn't the first time mormons dropped millions of dollars against gay marriage, hawaii was, although the sum here pales in comparison. you can buy a lot of hawaiian political pull with a million plus dollars.

    Posted by: bandanajack | Sep 10, 2013 6:36:52 AM

  14. Granted, Japanese Americans are much more tolerant of the gay community. It is the native Japanese, who dominate the islands on a daily basis and spend millions of tourist dollars, that have had a large anti-gay impact on the politicians. The gay porn that comes out of Japan is prolific and the Japanese love the billions they make off the stunted (masked) product. Hawaiian politicians fear the loss of that tourist dollar if they allow gay marriage. Looking back Hawaii should have been the very first state to allow gay marriage but it took a little no-body Mayor in San Francisco to start the ball rolling. Now that the Mormons have been exposed and eviscerated I don't think we'll see the same ill-fated support against gay anything from them again. At least not openly.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Sep 10, 2013 11:41:01 AM

  15. All of us on the mainland are praying for marriage to come to Hawaii. My husband and I honeymooned there and we will definitely visit again if Hawaii joins our home state of California in becoming a pro-family state.

    Posted by: DB | Sep 10, 2013 12:13:38 PM

  16. The LDS church itself may not canvass to torpedo marriage equality in Hawaii, but you can best believe individual Mormon groups/leaders in Hawaii will do so.

    I saw the updated vote count and things are VERY tight in Hawaii's House as it stands now. It looks like the votes are potentially there but it's soft support, and I think Governor Abercrombie wants to get it over with and force legislators to put the chips on the table and see where they stand. Over a month now for both sides to rally their troops and we'll see what happens.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Sep 10, 2013 1:15:14 PM

  17. The time is now for anyone who lives in Hawaii to contact their elected state legislators and tell them to vote "Yes" on marriage equality. That is the sort of pressure that is needed to get this measure passed.

    Posted by: RonCharles | Sep 10, 2013 7:04:09 PM

  18. He wouldn't call the session if he didn't think he had the votes (you're always a worrywart Francis, or a pessimist) though if I were living in HI I'd be contacting my legislator.

    Hawaii is where it started; marriage equality is overdue there, and for them economically it's a no-brainer.

    Posted by: Ernie | Sep 10, 2013 7:15:40 PM

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