The rush is on to be the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth states to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States. Hawaii joined in on the push Monday with Governor Neil Abercrombie calling a special legislative session to move forward a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.
If the bill passes, Hawaii will join Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota. The District of Columbia also has same-sex marriage.
New Mexico’s Supreme Court will be hearing arguments about whether or not state law already allows same-sex marriage this upcoming October. New Mexico does not have an explicit ban on same-sex marriage, and the marriage law states does not mention man or woman.
Illinois is stuck on same-sex marriage legislation, but a campaign is ongoing there to get it passed.
Abercrombie stated that “Every variation on a view with regard to the issue of marriage and equitable treatment for those engaged in marriage has been aired, has been analyzed, has been discussed. No one has been left out or has been marginalized in the process to this point.”
Abercrombie also acknowledged that some people are going to be against the bill, but said that it will include an exemption allowing churches to not perform same-sex marriages if they do not want to. He said “We’re trying to keep from imposing one set of views on each other that would end up with conflict and confrontation. We think that this bill achieves that delicate balance.”
Abercromie also said that legislators could move quickly and efficiently and have the special session over in less than a week.
Hawaii already has civil unions, but they fall short of offering full marriage benefits, especially since the federal government does not recognize civil unions. The recent striking down of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act resulted in a situation where civil unions became vastly inferior to same-sex marriages, and that has renewed the efforts in various states to get civil unions replaced with same-sex marriage.
It is expected that the Hawaii legislature will pass the bill. Currently, Democrats hold 24 out of the 25 Senate seats and 44 out of the 51 House seats. Support for the bill in the House is not as certain as it is in the Senate with conservative Democrats uncertain about passing the bill despite the fact tat it has overwhelming support among the citizens of Hawaii.
If passed, Hawaii would begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples as early as 18 November.
Hawaii does not have a ban on same-sex marriage in its constitution; however, it does have a legal ban on same-sex marriages. Their constitution allows the legislature to ban same-sex marriages.