A joint Hawaii House committee on
Tuesday approved a proposed gay marriage bill, sending it to the full
House for consideration.
The Hawaii House Judiciary and Finance
committee approved Senate Bill 1 with an 18-12 vote.
The vote came after lawmakers concluded
a 5-day marathon hearing on the marriage bill.
The committee attached three
amendments to the bill, including one that expands exemptions for
religious groups. The amendment allows “for profit” religious
groups to be exempt from the law. Legislators said they modeled the
exemptions after those found in Connecticut's marriage law.
The House is scheduled to begin debate
on the bill at 6 PM local time.
The Senate approved the bill last week
during a special session called for by Democratic Governor Neil
Abercrombie, who has pledged his signature. If the House approves a
bill with amendments, then the bill would head back to the Senate for
a second round.
The move came on the same day that
Illinois lawmakers approved a bill making Illinois
state to allow gay couples to marry. Gay and lesbian couples can
also marry in the District of Columbia.
UPDATE: Hawaii House will consider the bill
Wednesday morning at 10 AM.