Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday appointed Lt. Governor Brian Schatz to the U.S. Senate, replacing the late Senator Daniel Ken “Dan” Inouye. Inouye, a Medal of Honor recipient, died on December 17 after a brief illness. He was 88.

“I have informed the leadership of the United States Senate – spoken personally with Senator Reed, the majority leader of the United States Senate – that I have appointed Brian Schatz as the next United States Senator from Hawaii,” Abercrombie said in making his announcement.

Schatz said he was “humbled” and “honored” for the opportunity to serve the “people of Hawaii and the people of America.”

“No one can fill Daniel K. Inouye's shoes. But together all of us, we can try to walk in his footsteps,” Schatz said.

Following President Barack Obama's announcement in support of marriage equality, Inouye made a strong statement in support, saying he looked “forward to working with the president to ensure his position on marriage equality becomes law in this country.”

He also voted against passage of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and twice against an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as a heterosexual union.

Schatz supports similar positions, and is expected to back pro-equality legislation, such as the repeal of DOMA, in the Senate.