Main | Tuesday, February 12, 2013

HAWAII: Marriage Bill Stalls

Hawaii's same-sex marriage bill might be off the table.
The state House Judiciary Committee has decided not to schedule a hearing for a bill that would legalize gay marriage, which means the issue is likely tabled for this legislative session. State Rep. Karl Rhoads, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said that after polling his colleagues he determined there was not the political will for a gay-marriage bill this session.
Supporters of the bill rallied at the state house yesterday in advance of today's deadline to submit the bill.
"It's a landslide around the world and in our country and yet, we who started it all 20 years ago are still waiting in line," said retired Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice Steven Levinson. "It's time to do it now." But that time is running out. If lawmakers fail to schedule a hearing before the Judiciary Committee in either Chamber by tomorrow, the bills will likely die. "It means that we leave our LGBT brothers and sisters in the same position that they are now and given them absolutely no additional protection and treating them like second-class citizens," said Lois Perrin, ACLU of Hawaii's Legal Director.
Also yesterday Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell joined the National Mayors for Freedom To Marry. His statement:
"We have been a leader on rights for the LGBT community, enacting domestic partnerships then civil unions. Now it is time for us to cross the finish line and grant true equal rights with marriage equality. I strongly support the constitutional right of every person to practice their own religious beliefs, and we should never infringe on that. No religious organization will be forced to conduct a ceremony that is against their teachings. However, committed LGBT couples also have a right to be treated equally under the law, to have their marriages recognized by the state and have equal rights to hospital visitation, work benefits, and tax equity that heterosexual couples enjoy."

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