Hawai’i has passed SB1, joining 15 other states in its recognition of same-sex marriage.
Following a special session of the Hawaiian legislature, the bill was passed with a 19-4 vote, with 2 excused. Governor Neil Abercrombie, who called lawmakers to the session to debate the bill, has remained a vocal supporter of gay marriage, and has said he will sign the measure on Wednesday morning, according to Freedom to Marry.
Couples will be able to obtain marriage licenses as early as December 2nd. Hawai’i has offered civil unions to same-sex couples since January 1, 2012. Those agreements will be convertable to marriage certificates through an online procedure.
Civil unions, which Hawaii has offered to same-sex couples since January 1, 2012, can be converted to marriages through an online procedure.
“Same-sex relationships are part of the very fabric of native Hawaiian culture,” said Senator Kahale, an indigenous native of Hawaii. “Aloha was meant to describe openness and caring for each other. It is time for Aloha for all.”
President Obama released the following statement:
I want to congratulate the Hawaii State Legislature on passing legislation in support of marriage equality. With today’s vote, Hawaii joins a growing number of states that recognize that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be treated fairly and equally under the law. Whenever freedom and equality are affirmed, our country becomes stronger. By giving loving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry if they choose, Hawaii exemplifies the values we hold dear as a nation. I’ve always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today’s vote makes me even prouder. And Michelle and I extend our best wishes to all those in Hawaii whose families will now be now given the security and respect they deserve.
Researches at the University of Hawai’i estimate the law will boost tourism by $217 million over the next three years as LGBT couples fly to the islands for ceremonies, receptions, and honeymoons.
“The momentum for marriage equality feels unstoppable, but it is only a reality today in Hawai’i because of the thousands and thousands of grassroots conversations the people who live in Hawai’i have been having for so many years about the importance of love and marriage,” concluded MEUSA Executive Director Brian Silva. “One year ago at this time, there were 7 states with the freedom to marry, and today there are 16.”
Legislation in Illinois is also pending a signature from state Governor Pat Quinn.