Marriage Equality Proponents Applaud Announcement of Special Session

September 9, 2013

For Immediate Release

Honolulu, HI. Hawaii United for Marriage today welcomed Governor Neil Abercrombie’s call for a special session of the State Legislature to consider bringing marriage equality to Hawaii.

The session will begin on Oct. 28, 2013.

“Its’ been over two months since the U.S. government recognized marriage between same-sex couples,” said Lois Perrin, ACLU Legal Director and founding member of Hawaii United for Marriage. “Now our state legislature has the opportunity to eliminate the discrimination that exists against gay and lesbian couples in Hawaii.”

“As lawmakers we will now have an opportunity to carefully examine this issue in formal session,” said Rep. Chris Lee, D-51. “In the end, I am confident we will align ourselves with the growing majority of people in Hawaii who know that the freedom to marry is consistent with our most cherished value of aloha.”

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriages. Hawaii has a civil unions law, but does not allow gay couples to marry.

Hawaii proponents expect a vigorous campaign to defeat the measure in special session, and said much work remains.

“In order for the Legislature to approve this, we need those who have thus far been sitting silently on the sidelines to let their lawmakers know that this is the right move for Hawaii,”
Perrin said. “We should not leave this debate to only the avid supporters and opponents.”

“Having this special session also means that we will decide this issue without some of the outside influences that were planning to make Hawaii a ground zero if this debate was pushed into next year or beyond,” Rep. Lee said.

The announcement by the governor comes after a growing number of faith leaders, labor unions and businesses publicly backed the rights of gay couples to legally marry in Hawaii.

Hawaii’s Congressional delegation is on record in favor of marriage equality. Polls show majority support for marriage equality. The most recent poll shows those opposed to gay marriage are diminishing in numbers.

“Today our state takes another step forward toward justice and equality. The Japanese American Citizens League-Honolulu commends the governor and the Legislature for recognizing that Hawaii can no longer idly sit by while our gay and lesbian families and friends are treated unfairly and unequally,” said Jacce Mikulanec, board member of the Japanese American Citizens League and a founding member of Hawaii United for Marriage. ”Together, today, we are once again proving that Hawaii is a place that is defined and strengthened by its diversity.”

Hawaii United for Marriage is a statewide coalition of religious congregations, businesses, labor unions and community organizations. More information is available at
Jim McCoy