Governor Calls for Special Session on Marriage Equity
By Wendy Osher
Governor Neil Abercrombie called for a special session to begin Oct. 28 to address the issue of marriage equity.
The announcement was made during a news conference that was streamed live on the governor’s website this afternoon.
“The reason for the session taking place prior to the opening of the regular session next year is that there are serious, deep, and wide ranging consequences, particularly in regard to tax law that have to be in effect by Dec. 31, if they are to be taken full advantage of, presuming that the bill has enough votes for passage,” said Gov. Abercrombie.
The bill, relating to marriage, aims to recognize marriages between individuals of the same sex in the state of Hawaiʻi, “and to address questions of equity—civil and otherwise—that have arisen in the course of the discussion over the past 20-plus years,” said Gov. Abercrombie who noted that the first instance of informed discussion based on actual legislation or judicial decision-making came in 1993.
“I feel that whatever one’s position ultimately on the issue of marriage equity is, that we can truly say that here in Hawaiʻi, everyone has had respectful attention paid to their views; that everything has been taken into consideration that could reasonably be expected from people that are operating on the basis of good faith and good will; and that Oct. 28 will provide us an opportunity to efficiently and effectively bring this issue to a conclusion, and that we can then proceed to other business of the state,” said Gov. Abercrombie.
The governor also provide insight on potential objections from those who may argue against the bill based on the first amendment, which prohibits a law in which a state imposes religion on an individual or group.
He called the first amendment paradoxical rather than a contradiction saying, “I’m hoping that they will conclude that their views have not only been respected, but incorporated into the bill.”
“We’re trying to keep from imposing one set of views on each other that would end up with conflict and confrontation; and we think that this bill achieves that delicate balance that respects the first amendment,” said the governor.