House Votes 30-18 to Advance Marriage Equality Bill on 2nd Reading
By Maui Now Staff
The state House of Representatives voted 30-18 on Wednesday to advance an equality bill relating to same sex marriage in Hawaii.
The bill was passed with amendments, and now heads to a third reading, and a possible final vote on Friday, Nov. 8 at 10 a.m.
SB1 HD1 recognizes marriages between individuals of the same gender, extending to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities that married couples of the opposite-sex are presently entitled to. The bill also expands a religious exemption, according to House officials.
According to information released by the state House, the bill in its amended form also does the following:
“The House draft includes amendments, modeled after similar language in Connecticut law, significantly broadening exemptions for religious organizations and clergy performing solemnization. Religious organizations and affiliated nonprofits would be exempted from having to furnish goods, services, or its facilities or grounds for the solemnization or the celebration of solemnizations if it is in violation of its religious beliefs or faith. It also specifies that clergy and religious officers are not required to solemnize if it is against their religious beliefs or faith. The measure also grants immunity from administrative, civil and legal liability to religious organizations and officials for the failure or refusal to provide services, goods, or facilities as described.
Also under the House version of the bill, the effective date would be changed to December 2, 2013, instead of November 18, as indicated in the Senate version of the bill.
Tonight’s vote included all members from the House, except for three who were excused.
It comes on the heels of a 18-12 vote in the state House committees on Judiciary and Finance on Tuesday, following five days and nearly 57 hours of public testimony.