Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, on Monday chose to
call a special session to consider a proposed gay marriage bill,
setting up the possibility that Hawaii could become the 14th
state to legalize such unions by November 1.
The session, expected to last 5 days, is scheduled to begin
“Every variation on a view with regard to the issue of marriage
and equitable treatment for those engaged in marriage has been aired,
has been analyzed, has been discussed,” Abercrombie said. “No
one has been left out or has been marginalized in the process to this
Abercrombie made his decision after meeting last week with House
Democrats to discuss a marriage bill drafted by his office. Senate
leaders say they have the votes needed to approve the bill. But
support for the measure in the House is tight.
Despite holding overwhelming majorities in both legislative
chambers, Democrats could not meet the two-thirds majority needed to
call a special session.
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 that a 5-day
session would run $25,800.
Abercrombie said that he decided to call the special session in
part because of the implications on taxes for this year, the
bishop calls gay marriage the devil's handiwork.)