Senator Clayton Hee, chair of the
Hawaii Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee, told reporters on
Saturday that he expects the Senate will give final approval to a gay
marriage bill on Tuesday.
Hee, a Democrat, announced that he
would recommend passage of the bill as amended in a House committee
and approved Friday by the full House.
marriage bill clears Hawaii House.)
“There are very few opportunities to
participate in government in decisions that define your career, and
this is one of those decisions that will define the careers of all
the members in the Legislature,” Hee is quoted as telling reporters
by the Honolulu
The Senate approved the marriage bill
last week. But a return trip is necessary for senators to consider
amendments approved during the House committee phase.
“Although Hawaii was not the first to
enact same-sex marriage, what shouldn't be lost is Hawaii was the
first – in the Baehr v. Lewin lawsuit – that started the
same-sex marriage discussion nationally,” he said, a reference to
the landmark 1993 Supreme Court case that struck down the state's law
limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. Five years later, voters
responded by approving a constitutional amendment which gives
lawmakers “the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.”
Hee predicted a 21-4 vote in the Senate,
with three Democrats voting against the measure.
Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie
applauded Friday's passage in the House and has pledged his
State Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican,
announced Friday that he plans to ask a court to block the law's
start. McDermott argues that the 1998 amendment gives lawmakers the
power to only define marriage as a heterosexual union.