Marriage Equality Proponents Pleased With Progress Toward Special Session

September 6, 2013

Sept. 6, 2013

For Immediate Release

Honolulu, HI.  Marriage equality proponents are cautiously optimistic Governor Neil Abercrombie will be calling a special session to legalize gay marriage.

The governor met in private caucus sessions with House lawmakers and after the meeting told reporters the “general conclusion is that everything that can possibly be said, has been said, every issue that could possibly be worked on, has been.  So it’s just a matter now, I think, of taking a look at what the final wording of the bill might be and I’ll make a decision very shortly.”

“Legislators have reviewed the bill and no questions remain,” said Lois Perrin, ALCU Legal Director and a founding member of Hawaii United for Marriage. “We understand that political leaders are now ready to stand with the majority of Hawaii’s residents on the right side of history in passing marriage equality.  The question of special session is no longer ‘if’ – it’s ‘when.’  When will we act to secure the rights and freedoms of our friends, family and neighbors?”

“I am glad that the Governor is looking to call a special session soon,” said Rep. Chris Lee, D-51.  “If we delay to 2014, our state will become ground zero for mainland groups on both sides spending millions to influence Hawaii’s decision.  A growing majority in Hawaii supports marriage equality and it really is about our local values of welcoming all in the true spirit of kindness and aloha.”

The governor, accompanied by Attorney General David Louie and key staff members, met with House Democrats and Republicans in separate caucuses.

The private meetings occurred after public backing of marriage equality by faith leaders, labor unions and over 80 businesses.

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

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.

“As national polls reflect what we are seeing locally, it’s our hope that gay couples in Hawaii will soon gain the right to marry, and not have to wait another year or more as opponents continue to delay the inevitable,” said Jacce Mikulanec of Equality Hawaii. “Approving this measure during this special session will put Hawaii on the right side of history.”

Hawaii United for Marriage is a statewide coalition of religious congregations, businesses, labor unions and community organizations.

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Contact: Jim McCoy