Marriage Equality Proponents Encouraged by State Senate VoteOctober 30, 2013
For Immediate Release
Honolulu, HI. Today’s historic State Senate vote in favor of marriage equality is another sign that Hawaii is preparing to eliminate discrimination against gay and lesbian couples in Hawaii.
“Today our state took another huge step forward toward justice and equality. And with this vote, we remain cautiously optimistic that Hawaii will soon align with those who believe that the freedom to marry is consistent with our most cherished value of aloha,” said Jacce Mikulanec, board member of the Japanese American Citizens League and a founding member of Hawaii United for Marriage.
The measure passed the Senate by a twenty to four vote and moves to the State House for consideration.
“After twenty years of debate, lawmakers are left with a simple choice,” said Lois Perrin, ACLU-Hawaii Legal Director and a founding member of Hawaii United for Marriage. “Do we want a Hawaii that condones discriminating against people for being different, or do we want a Hawaii that embraces all people with kindness and respect? Discrimination or aloha? We believe that the Hawaii State Senate chose the right path today and we honor them for their leadership.”
The Senate vote happened in the wake of growing support for marriage equality statewide. More than 70 Hawaii faith leaders are endorsing the legislation. During a rally Monday, a number of them personally lobbied lawmakers for its passage. They included representatives from the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii, which passed a resolution this past weekend in favor of same sex marriage.
Members of the labor and business communities have joined the governor and Hawaii’s Congressional delegation backing the rights of gay couples to legally marry in Hawaii. Local and national public opinion polls show increasing majority support for gay marriage. In an unusual step, President Barack Obama today weighed in on the debate.
“While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” Shin Inouye, a White House spokesman, said in an email to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. The President would welcome a decision by the state Legislature to treat all Hawaii couples equally.”
Fourteen 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 United for Marriage is a statewide coalition of religious congregations, businesses, labor unions and community organizations. More information is available at www.HawaiiUnited.org