Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie is
expected on Wednesday to sign a bill legalizing gay marriage in the
“I look forward to signing this
significant piece of legislation which provides marriage equity and
fully recognizes and protects religious freedoms,” Abercrombie
The Democratic governor is expected to
sign the bill Wednesday morning during a signing ceremony to be held
at the Hawaii Convention Center.
Gay and lesbian couples will be able to
marry in the state starting December 2.
The bill cleared the Senate on Tuesday
with overwhelming support, 19-4 with two lawmakers excused, after
nearly 2 hours of debate.
marriage bill clears Hawaii Senate; Governor to sign.)
Barack Obama welcomed the news: “I've always been proud to have
been born in Hawaii, and today's vote makes me even prouder.”
In calling for the special session,
Abercrombie, who in 2011 signed the state's civil unions law, said
that gay couples in a civil union were unable to receive federal
benefits following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that led to the
government recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples.
Rep. Bob McDermott warned that he would
seek a court order blocking the law's start. McDermott, a
Republican, argues that a 1998 voter-approved constitutional
amendment giving the Hawaii Legislature the power to define marriage
sets limits on legislative authority and claims that the measure
prohibits lawmakers from legalizing same-sex marriage.