Abercrombie Presented State Lawmakers With Bill to Legalize Gay Marriage
Thinking of an exotic destination wedding spot that also makes a perfect honeymoon vacation? Many would think of Hawaii, that lush Garden of Eden state? You may be able to have your gay wedding if Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) calls a special session to consider his draft of a bill that would make his state the 14th to legalize same-sex marriage.
Abercrombie Presented State Lawmakers with Draft of Bill
The governor may wait until October to call a special session. Abercrombie would have to call the session since the House doesn’t have the two-thirds vote necessary to call it . Otherwise, the issue may have to wait until the regular session of the Legislature in January. Of the fifty-one House representatives polled , twenty-seven were in favor, with fifteen opposed. (Twenty-six votes are required for passage).
There is stronger support in the Senate, where there is a strong 20-5 majority. Senate members Sam Slom, a Republican, Mike Gabbard, Ron Kouchi, Donovan Dela Cruz, and President Donna Mercado Kim, are against marriage equality.
The draft of the bill, based on former bill 1369 includes an exemption for religious leaders and organizations that don’t wish to perform ceremonies for gay couples. Said Abercrombie: “ everything that could possibly be worked on has been. So, it’s just a matter now, I think, of taking a look, at what the final wording of the bill might be, and I’ll make a decision very shortly. I’m simply not going to consider a special session if it becomes something that gets dragged out and a recycling of previous history. (The same-sex legislation previously died in a regular session last January).
The governor wants to see what kind of support he receives before he calls a special session. After Abercrombie meets with the majority caucus, he plans on talking with House Republicans who number seven. Republican Representative Cynthia Thielen is the only proponent for same-sex marriage out of the seven.
Risks for Meeting Later
Rep. Marcus Oshiro, the former Finance Chairman under Rep. Calvin Say, the former House Speaker, said he doesn’t like the bill introduced in the Senate last January. He is fearful if the bill is introduced in the regular session in January it will detract from other issues that need to be addressed.
If Abercrombie calls for special session and his bill fails, he’ll be blamed for wasting money and time. It may be harder to try and pass it again.
Others Who Want Decision Now
Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick, in the face of Catholic opposition, wrote a letter last week that urges the Legislature to make marriage equality a reality in Hawaii. With DOMA struck down, military benefits being extended to same-sex spouses, and federal taxation of legally married same-sex couples being on par with heterosexual couples, even those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds are taking a second look.
The amendment is facing a federal court challenge. Jackson v. Abercrombie case is in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals awaiting briefing and argument by a three-judge panel.