Hawaii Same Sex Marriage

November 13, 2013 by  

Hawaii Same Sex Marriage, The Hawaii Senate passed a House-amended bill legalizing same-sex marriage on Tuesday. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is expected to sign the bill into law quickly, perhaps as soon as Wednesday, which would allow Hawaii to beat out Illinois as the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Hawaii law allows same-sex couples to marry in the Aloha State beginning Dec. 2, just in time for destination wedding season.

While the final Senate vote was pretty uneventful (19-4), the bill was not without opposition. The Hawaii House passed the special session measure 30-19 after a tumultuous five-day public hearing, which featured heated testimonies and spirited protesters.

The House amendments were largely aimed at expanding religious exemptions for clergy and religious organizations that oppose same-sex marriage, including “for-profit” organizations that can opt out of marriage ceremonies. The Hawaii bill follows the example of Connecticut’s same-sex marriage law.

The debate over same-sex marriage in Hawaii dates back more than 20 years, when, in 1990, Ninia Baehr and Genora Dancel, two women, applied for a marriage license in Honolulu. Their bravery prompted ground-breaking court cases and led to a national discussion on gay marriage.

Abercrombie, a first-term Democrat, called for the special session to address same-sex marriage when, earlier this year, part of the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Hawaii’s same-sex couples were then missing out on 1,100 federal benefits because the state did not allow them to be legally married.

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