Marriage equality is coming to HawaiiAround the Nation, Breaking News, Online Only, Top Highlights Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
Today the Hawaii state Senate passed marriage equality legislation, putting the Aloha State on track to become the next state where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry. The legislation now heads to the desk of Gov. Neil Abercrombie for signature.
Sponsored by state Sen. Brickwood Galuteria in the state Senate and under the leadership of Senate Judiciary Chair Clayton Hee, House Speaker Joseph Souki, House Judiciary Chair Karl Rhoads, House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke, Representative Chris Lee, Representative Della au Bellati, and Republican Representative Cynthia Thielen, Hawaii’s marriage equality legislation first passed the state Senate 20-4 on October 31, and the state House 30-19 on Friday, November 8. The state Senate today passed the House-amended version 19 to 4. Hawaii’s marriage equality law will go into effect on December 2, 2013.
Following the announcement The White House released the following statement from President Obama: “I want to congratulate the Hawaii State Legislature on passing legislation in support of marriage equality. With today’s vote, Hawaii joins a growing number of states that recognize that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be treated fairly and equally under the law. Whenever freedom and equality are affirmed, our country becomes stronger. By giving loving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry if they choose, Hawaii exemplifies the values we hold dear as a nation. I’ve always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today’s vote makes me even prouder. And Michelle and I extend our best wishes to all those in Hawaii whose families will now be given the security and respect they deserve.”
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said, “The unprecedented momentum for LGBT equality in America continues today, with Hawaii’s passage of historic marriage legislation. Before this year, marriage was the law of the land in eight states. By the end of this year, that number will have doubled to sixteen. We’re committed to working harder than ever before to bring marriage equality to all 50 states, so loving gay and lesbian couples everywhere can enjoy the same hopes, dreams and aspirations as their straight peers.”
HRC devoted significant resources working to secure marriage equality in Hawaii, including providing three field organizers and helping to generate 4224 phone calls, 2946 emails, and 3695 postcards to key legislators. HRC was a proud founding member of the Hawaii United for Marriage coalition.
Sen. Kahale, an indigenous native of Hawaii, stated unequivocally during today’s hearing, “Same-sex relationships are part of the very fabric of native Hawaiian culture.” He concluded his remarks with, “Aloha was meant to describe openness and caring for each other. It is time for Aloha for all.”
“My mother was born and raised in Hawaii, and our family grew up with a strong sense of Aloha spirit, family values, and fairness for all,” said Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA), a member of the Hawaii United for Marriage Coalition, Communications Director Stuart Gaffney. “As we celebrate today, our family couldn’t be prouder that Hawaii is making history as the 16th marriage equality state in the union, and the second state in one week to declare equality for all families!”
Artist Tina Lia, a resident of Kihei, Maui, said, “I think it’s great that our legislators are taking bold steps to ensure equality for everyone! This is a civil rights issue whose time has come. I’m so proud of our state and our country for moving forward and making this a priority.”
“One of the early milestones in the freedom to marry movement was the lawsuit filed in Hawaii 23 years ago in 1991,” noted MEUSA Legal and Policy Director John Lewis. “The people of Hawaii never gave up, and their long road to equality will make the wedding bells ring a bit louder and the wedding cake taste that much sweeter when the first marriages begin in Hawaii.”
“The momentum for marriage equality feels unstoppable, but it is only a reality today in Hawaii because of the thousands and thousands of grassroots conversations the people who live in Hawaii have been having for so many years about the importance of love and marriage,” concluded MEUSA Executive Director Brian Silva. “One year ago at this time, there were 7 states with the freedom to marry, and today there are 16. Marriage Equality USA and our project, the National Equality Action Team (NEAT), will continue to have heartfelt conversations around the country until we have the freedom to marry nationwide.”
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