monday, 11 november of 2013

Hawaii House approves same-sex marriage bill

Same-sex marriage

Hawaii House approves same-sex marriage bill

The Hawaii House of Representatives voted 30-19 Friday to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. A point of contention during the committee hearing was the introduction of religious exemptions to the bill, allowing religious organizations to withhold services if the same-sex marriage would be a violation of thei beliefs. Governor Neil Abercrombie, who called for a special convening of the state legislature specifically to consider legislation for same-sex marriage by proclamation in September, has stated that he would sign the measure into law. Before the governor may consider the bill, however, it must return to the Senate for approval of the amendments made in the House.


The legalization of same-sex marriage has proven to be divisive issue in Hawaii. Last week, a Hawaiian judge denied a request for a temporary restraining order against lawmakers to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage. Last month the Hawaii Senate approved a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Abercrombie signed the same-sex civil unions bill into law in 2011, legalizing same-sex civil unions in the state. This legislation went into effect in January 2012 after being approved by the state's senate in an 18-5 vote.

A similar bill was vetoed in 2010 by former governor Linda Lingle, who cited concerns that the bill was "essentially marriage by another name" and said that the issue should be decided directly by the people of Hawaii. Following the signing of the same-sex civil unions bill in 2011, a lesbian couple filed suit in the US District Court for the District of Hawaii, challenging the state's denial of same-sex marriage and claiming that they were being denied a "fundamental right." Although the court denied the state law challenge in 2012, Abercrombie supported the plaintiffs' claims, publicly stating that he disagreed with the decision and that "[t]o refuse individuals the right to marry on the basis of sexual orientation or gender is discrimination in light of our civil union law."

 

(Published by Jurist – November 9, 2013)

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