Bills which seek to legalize gay
marriage and constitutionally prohibit it were introduced Thursday in
State Representative Faye P. Hanohano,
a Democrat from Puna, is the sole sponsor of a bill which seeks to
make Hawaii the 10th state to legalize such unions.
House Bill 1109 states its purpose as
“to recognize marriages between persons of the same sex in the
State of Hawaii. It is the intent of the legislation to extend to
same-sex couples the right to marry and to receive all the same
rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage as
opposite-sex couples receive under the laws of this State.”
Two years ago, lawmakers approved civil
unions for gay and lesbian couples after a protracted fight which
began nearly 18 years earlier with a Hawaii State Supreme Court
ruling which favored marriage equality advocates but allowed
lawmakers to decide on a remedy.
A bipartisan group of 15 Hawaii
representatives also introduced a resolution calling for a
constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.
A Senate version is sponsored by Senator Mike Gabbard, a Democrat.
Two more bills were filed by Rep. John
Mizuno, a Democrat from Kalihi. One seeks a constitutional amendment
which would extend marriage to gay and lesbian couples, while the
other would put in place an amendment limiting marriage to
Mizuno told the AP that he's opposed to
marriage equality but wants voters to decide the issue.
“I'm not afraid to let the people
decide,” he said.
According to a Public Policy Polling
survey released in late 2011, 49 percent of Hawaii voters support gay
nuptials, while 40 percent remain opposed.