Bills which seek to legalize gay marriage and constitutionally prohibit it were introduced Thursday in Hawaii.

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 β€œto 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 heterosexual couples.

Mizuno told the AP that he's opposed to marriage equality but wants voters to decide the issue.

β€œI'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.