Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has called a special session of the state legislature for Oct. 28 with one purpose in mind: to pass a marriage equality bill. Abercrombie said he decided to call the special section instead of waiting until the legislature convenes next year because of the tax implications for couples. ”There are serious, deep and wide-ranging consequences,” Abercrombie said.
Abercrombie has been pushing hard for marriage equality in Hawaii, going so far as to release his own version of a bill. He met with legislators last week to determine whether to move ahead with a special session. While marriage equality is favored by a majority in the state Senate, the numbers were less favorable in the state House of Representatives. A religious exemption clause in the new legislation was meant to assuage fence-sitters.
“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,” Abercrombie said. “No one has been left out or has been marginalized in the process to this point.”
Abercrombie had been clear that he wouldn’t call the session if the bill couldn’t pass. Political observers in Hawaii say that Abercrombie has his votes. The special session may take only three or four days. If that’s the case, marriages could begin in Hawaii on November 18. If you’ve been thinking of getting married in paradise, you may be able to start planning now.