November 7, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Hawaii same-sex marriage bill advances

Hawaii, gay news, Washington Blade

Hawaii on Wednesday became one step closer to extending marriage to same-sex couples when the state House approved a gay nuptials bill. (Photo by Omar A. via Creative Commons)

The Hawaii House of Representatives on Wednesday advanced a bill that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in the Aloha State.

The 30-18 vote took place a day after the House Judiciary and Finance Committees approved the measure. Lawmakers spent five days listening to testimony from more than 8,000 supporters and opponents of nuptials for gays and lesbians.

The state Senate on Oct. 30 overwhelmingly approved the bill.

“Sadly, and in part due to what we’ve been hearing these past five days in the basement of this building, some may have the impression that all Christians are opposed to the freedom to marry,” Rev. Kerry Grogan of the Christ Church Uniting Disciples and Presbyterians in Kailua said during a Thursday press conference at the state Capitol in Honolulu that same-sex marriage opponents sought to disrupt. “We are here today to say that’s not the case.”

Gays and lesbians can legally marry in 14 states and D.C.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn later this month is expected to sign a same-sex marriage bill that his state’s lawmakers approved on Tuesday.

Hawaii voters in 1998 approved a state constitutional amendment that allowed the Legislature to ban nuptials for gays and lesbians.

The state’s civil unions law took effect in 2012, but a federal judge in August of that year dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of two same-sex couples who sought marriage rights in Hawaii. The plaintiffs appealed, and their case is currently pending in the U.S. Ninth Circuit alongside a second lawsuit that seeks to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in Nevada.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and 14 state attorneys general last month filed briefs with the court that urge it to rule in support of nuptials for gays and lesbians in his state and Nevada.

A final vote of the same-sex marriage bill is expected to take place in the state House on Friday.

Abercrombie has said he will sign it into law once lawmakers approve it.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

1 Comment
  • We Thank You Washington Blade & Please Hope For Our Fabulous Final Reading & Passing To Governor Neil Abercrombie To Sign. I Hope You Also Out There Are Catching The News Of Openly Gay ( Rep. Jo Jordan ) Who Not Only Voted Against Us, Her Own LGBT Community But Treated Us LGBT Like An Inquisition…

    Big Alohas Washington Blad & Staff

    Minister HRH-SisterFace

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