The Hawaii Senate on Tuesday gave an
initial nod to a bill which seeks to make Hawaii the 15th
state to legalize gay marriage.
Senators are expected to give the bill
final approval and send it to the House on Wednesday.
House leaders have scheduled hearings
on the marriage measure for Thursday.
Roughly 1,800 people signed up to
testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee marathon hearing on Monday
that lasted nearly 12 hours. Another 4,000 pages of written
testimony were submitted ahead of the hearing.
Support in the House is more divided,
but a recent vote count by Hawaii
News Now listed 27 House members in support of the measure,
one vote more than needed to clear the chamber.
Governor Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat,
has pledged to sign the marriage bill if it is approved by
“I think Hawaii has always celebrated
its sense of Aloha for one another,” Abercrombie told Reuters over
the weekend. “This is a question of equity.”
Hawaii approved a civil unions law in
2011. A recent Supreme Court ruling which led to the federal
government recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples coupled
with an ongoing legal challenge has increased the pressure for
lawmakers to approve a marriage law.