Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie said on Friday that he'll decide
“shortly” whether to call a special session to consider
legalizing gay marriage.
“Everything that can possibly be said has been said, every issue
that could possibly be worked on has been,” Abercrombie told the
AP. “So it's just a matter now, I think, of taking a look at what
the final wording of the bill might be and I'll make the decision
Abercrombie made his comments after meeting with House Democrats
to discuss the issue.
The meeting comes more than a week after Abercrombie released a
marriage bill drafted by his office.
Senate leaders say they have the votes needed to approve the
marriage bill. But the House appears to remain divided.
A two-thirds majority of lawmakers is needed to call a special
session. Despite holding overwhelming majorities in both legislative
chambers, Democrats cannot meet the threshold by themselves and are
therefore relying on Abercrombie to call the special session.
Democratic House Speaker Joseph Souki said after the meeting that
he believes the governor wants to “get this over with.”
“Like most people he's getting tired of the pressure that he's
getting on both sides,” Souki
told the AP.
Rep. Chris Lee, a Democrat, added: “I did get the sense that the
governor is inclined to act.”
Hawaii is one of four states which recognize the relationships of
gay and lesbian couples with civil unions. The others are Colorado,
Illinois and New Jersey.
Backers say the fall of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June
has made passage of a marriage bill critical since the federal
government will not recognize civil unions. Without the special
session, the legislation is not likely to be considered until next
Opponents have also criticized the cost associated with a special
session. Rep. Beth Fukumoto, a Republican, estimated the 5-day
session would run $25,800.
bishop calls gay marriage the devil's handiwork.)