Hawai’i Lawmakers Weigh in on Same Sex Marriage
By Wendy Osher
Hawaii’s US senators are voicing their support for marriage equality as the US Supreme Court hears arguments to determine the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
US Senator Brian Schatz today released statement calling it “unacceptable” to deny committed couples the right to marry.
“Because we all have friends, relatives and loved ones in devoted same-sex relationships, I encourage everyone to stand up for equality,” he said.
“I am a proud supporter of marriage equality, and I will continue to join President Obama in speaking out to end this type of discrimination. My hope is that the Supreme Court does what is right for this country,” said Sen. Schatz.
According to Sen. Schatz, the Supreme Court will also hear a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act also known as DOMA, which defines marriage between a man and a woman. The definition, he said, effectively excludes same-sex couples from federal benefits extended to heterosexual couples.
Sen. Schatz joined his US Senate colleagues in filing an amicus brief in the DOMA case that is before the Supreme Court.
“We’re making progress in the fight for marriage equality, but it’s clear we have a long way to go,” said fellow US Senator Mazie Hirono in an email letter to constituents seeking their support.
In the letter, Sen. Hirono offers links to two petitions being circulated that urge the Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality.
Sen. Hirono said, “Because the Defense of Marriage Act is in force, same-sex couples who legally marry in these states — plus the other six states and the District of Columbia that have embraced marriage equality — are still denied basic federal benefits, like the right to file taxes jointly or to take unpaid leave to care for an ill spouse.”
Sen. Hirono called the criteria “unconstitutional” and in violation of the nation’s principles of freedom, equality, and justice for all.
Following the passage of Prop-8 in California five years ago, the Los Angeles Times published an article that gave the monetary breakdown of people in various states, including Hawaii who gave funds in support of (link may incorrectly show opposers), and in opposition to a ban on gay marriage. At the time, the publication labeled the measure California’s “costliest social initiative to date.”
Oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry case relating to California’s Prop-8 are scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, March 26; and arguments in United States v. Windsor case relating to DOMA are scheduled to be heard on Wednesday, March 27, according to the Supreme Court calendar.