Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie on
Wednesday signed a bill into law legalizing gay marriage in the
The Democratic governor signed the
legislation during a signing ceremony held at the Hawaii Convention
Center. Among those in attendance was Evan Wolfson, president and
founder of Freedom to Marry, the nation's largest group devoted to
expanding marriage rights for gay couples.
Speakers at the event included Senator
Clayton Hee and Rep. Chris Lee, who championed the bill in their
respective chambers, and Attorney General David M. Louie.
“In the end, we are one ohana,”
Lee said. “We are one family.”
In his remarks, Abercrombie described
the marriage law as “the epitome of the First Amendment in action.”
“The world is about to change, right
now,” Abercrombie said.
Gay and lesbian couples will be able to
marry in the state starting December 2. Gay couples can also marry
in 14 states plus the District of Columbia. Illinois Governor Pat
Quinn is expected to sign a similar bill into law on November 20.
Abercrombie signed the bill a day after
it cleared the Senate with overwhelming support, 19-4 with two
lawmakers excused, after
nearly 2 hours of debate.
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. According to
Los Angeles Times, McDermott on Thursday will ask a court for
a temporary restraining order against the law.
“This is what voters were told in '98
– that marriage would be reserved to opposite-sex couples,”