LIVE Stream: Signing of Same-Sex Marriage BillNovember 13, 2013, 8:06 AM HST · Updated November 13, 1:24 PM 0 Comments
By Wendy Osher
Same-sex marriage is expected to become legal in Hawaiʻi today during a 10 a.m. bill signing ceremony hosted by Governor Neil Abercrombie at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center, Liliʻu Theater.
The event will be streamed live online via the governor’s UStream page.
The Hawaiʻi State Senate passed the measure in 19 to 4 on Tuesday, with all three Maui Senators standing in support of the measure.
A group of supporters also celebrated the passage on Maui during a sign waving demonstration along Kaʻahumanu Avenue yesterday afternoon.
Subject to the signing of the governor, same-sex marriages will begin in Hawaiʻi on Dec. 2, 2013.
In a statement issued following the the Senate passage, Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria, who introduced the bill said the passage, “marks a pivotal moment in our state’s history, a moment enshrined in equality and justice.”
“Working together with our colleagues in the state House we have come to a compromise which provides a balance between religious freedom and equal rights,” he said in a legislative press release.
Fellow Senator Clayton Hee, who chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor also commented saying, “I am pleased to have played a small part in this legislation which will bring equality, justice, and liberty for all regarding all Americans.”
In advance of today’s bill signing ceremony, Governor Neil Abercrombie issued a statement saying, “In Hawaiʻi, we believe in fairness, justice and human equality. We embrace the Aloha spirit and respect one another. Today, we celebrate our diversity defining us rather than dividing us.”
In his statement the governor said he believes the bill, “provides equal rights for all people, is legally sound, and is in accord with the Hawaiʻi State Constitution.”
“I look forward to signing this significant piece of legislation, which provides marriage equity and fully recognizes and protects religious freedoms,” he said.
A total of four Senators voted against the measure including Senator(s): Mike Gabbard, Sam Slom, Donna Mercado Kim, and Ronald Kouchi.
Opponents spoke in strong opposition to SB1, saying the bill was “rushed through,” and that a task force should have been formed to study the impacts of the legislation.
SB1 HD1 recognizes marriages between individuals of the same gender by extending to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities that married couples of the opposite-sex are presently entitled to.
Under the amended version of the bill, language regarding exemptions for religious organizations and clergy performing solemnization has been revised to closely model similar provisions currently in effect in Connecticut.
According to Senate leaders, the bill exempts religious organizations and affiliated non-profits from having to provide goods, services, facilities, or grounds for the solemnization or the celebration of a solemnization if it is in violation of its religious beliefs or faith.
The bill also specifies that clergy and religious officers are not required to solemnize if it is against their religious beliefs or faith; and grants immunity from legal liability for failure or refusal to provide services.