Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hawaii Legislature Passes Marriage Equality Bill

Yesterday the Hawaii legislature gave final passage to SB1, the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act which will legalize same-sex marriage as of Dec. 2. One of the 19 representatives voting against the bill in the House was Rep. Jo Jordan, the first openly gay state legislator to vote against same-sex marriage.  She told Honolulu Magazine that her objections were in part based on a concern that the religious exemptions in the bill are too narrow.  The bill protects clergy who refuse to perform same-sex marriages or civil unions, and allows any religious organization or nonprofit that is "operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization" to refuse to provide goods, services or facilities for civil unions or marriages that are in violation of the organization's religious beliefs. According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said he will sign the bill.  It is expected that he will do so today, beating Illinois to become the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.  The Illinois legislature passed marriage equality legislation last week (see prior posting), but Gov. Pat Quinn does not plan to sign it until Nov. 20. Shortly after the bill passed in Hawaii, President Obama issued a statement congratulating the legislature on its action, and saying that this made him even prouder to have been born in Hawaii.