Same Sex Marriage Bill Heads to Full House
By Wendy Osher
The full state House of Representatives is scheduled to take up a bill on second reading today relating to marriage equality for same-sex couples.
The session is set to convene at 10 a.m., and comes following the passage of the bill in the House Committees on Judiciary and Finance on Tuesday.
The 18 to 12 committee vote in favor of SB1, came after five days and nearly 57 hours of public testimony.
The House committee chairs recommended advancement of SB1 with three amendments: (1) to adopt religious exemption language based on Connecticut law.; (2) the removal of sections relating to parental rights; and (3) changing the effective date to December 2, 2013, with technical and conforming amendments for style and clarity.
Following yesterday’s committee votes, Governor Neil Abercrombie and State Attorney General David Louie released the following statement in support of the amendments made to the measure:
“The amendments outlined in House Draft 1 strike a balance between the bill that was introduced by the Legislature and concerns raised in written and oral testimony during public hearings.
“We support the principle that any measure on marriage equity must protect religious freedom, which the Legislature has clearly worked to achieve.
“The bill as amended is legally sound and is in accord with the Hawaii State Constitution.
“We urge the Legislature to pass this bill, which will provide marriage equity and fully recognize religious beliefs in that context.”
Maui Representatives Kaniela Ing and Kyle Yamashita both voted in favor of the bill, while fellow Representatives Justin Woodson and Mele Carroll both voiced opposition to the measure.
Maui Representatives Angus McKelvey and House Speaker Joe Souki were not included in the vote because they are not members of the committees that voted on the legislation, however they are scheduled to participate in today’s full House vote.
In an earlier vote in the state Senate, all Maui Senators voted in favor of the measure in its original form including Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran, J. Kalani English, and Roz Baker.