Building Pressure

Hawaii Governor Releases His Version Of A Marriage Equality Bill

Marriage equality is really heating up in Hawaii. On Wednesday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie used a rally for marriage equality to release his version of a marriage measure for a potential special session of the legislation. Under Abercrombie’s version, the state would begin issuing marriage licenses on Oct. 3, with ceremonies beginning on Nov. 1.

Abercrombie is more than willing to call a special session of the legislature to pass a marriage equality bill. The question is whether there are the votes for passage. “I’m simply not going to consider a special session if it becomes something that gets dragged out and a recycling of previous history,” Abercrombie said. “The bill’s there, we’re going to make ourselves available.”

Although Democrats control the majority in both the House and the Senate in the state legislature, they seem unable to garner the two-thirds majority needed in the House to get the bill to Abercrombie’s desk. Abercrombie’s version of the bill extends exemptions for churches and clergy in order to placate concerns among some holdouts.
Meanwhile, the state Democratic Party has unanimously passed a resolution calling for a special session of the legislature. The only question is whether the combined pressure of the party and the governor is sufficient to move enough votes to make a special session worthwhile.
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