Hawai’i is Ready

Father Damien statue outside of the Hawai'i State Capitol -- close-up shot of the blocky statue, two pillars of the Capitol building visible behind him.
Father Damien statute outside of the Hawai’i State Capitol

I am calling for a special legislative session because we must ensure the civil rights of every citizen are protected. There is no reason to deny the benefits of marriage to any individual. Marriage is a choice that is made by people who want to make a lifelong commitment. This is a right that is as sacred as our right to vote.

 I am asking legislators to vote during the special session to allow same-sex couples to be legally married.

— Governor Neil Abercrombie, September 9, 2013

In 1993 I was working for the Hawai’i House of Representatives, in the House Majority Staff Office (and when I say majority I mean majority: 47 Democrats; 4 Republicans).

That was the year the Hawai’i State Supreme Court ruled in Baehr v. Lewin that not granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples was discriminatory under the state’s constitution.  The ruling did not grant same-sex couples an immediate right to marry.  Instead, the Supreme Court kicked it back to the lower courts, instructing the defendant, the State Attorney, that it would need to show a compelling state interest for refusing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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