In Hawaii, legislators, faith leaders, and the governor say it’s time for marriage

It's been a big week for the freedom to marry in Hawaii as legislators, faith leaders, and Governor Neil Abercrombie continually sound off about the importance of passing a bill that extends the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in Hawaii once and for all. Hawaii United for Marriage, the coalition working to pass a marriage bill this year, has been working hard to amplify stories of why marriage matters for all families - and Freedom to Marry is proud to serve as a leading partner of the work to win in the Aloha State.

Yesterday, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that it is "very likely" there will be a special legislative in the Hawaii legislature in order to vote on a bill to extend the freedom to marry in Hawaii. Governor Neil Abercrombie said in the news article:

We’re not necessarily going to agree on every aspect of how to move forward where justice and freedom and opportunity are concerned. But I think we can put together something that can achieve a solid majority, that will give us the opportunity to establish marriage equity in the state of Hawaii commensurate with the recent Supreme Court decisions, and will satisfy and resolve the issues that are presently before the appeals court on the mainland.

The report comes on the heels of major momentum ramping up in Hawaii. Last week, all four members of Hawaii's Congressional delegation - U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz and U.S. Representatives Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard - urged the Hawaii legislature to pass a marriage bill. Each official issued a statement of support. 

Senator Brian Schatz said:

Equality goes hand-in-hand with Hawaii’s values and with what the majority of Americans hope to achieve. Our country took an important step towards achieving marriage equality, and now it’s time for Hawaii to step up and allow same-sex couples to marry. I urge the Hawaii State Legislature to do what’s right and make marriage equality a reality.

Rep. Gabbard explained that civil union - the lesser status of family status that same-sex couples in Hawaii can currently access, providing them some state protections but denying them the federal protections of marriage and the full dignity and respect of marriage - doesn't work. She said:

I disagree with a two-tiered, discriminatory government policy of ‘marriage’ and ‘civil unions.’ Government officials, judges, and bureaucrats should not have the power to declare one relationship ‘morally’ superior to another. As long as government is involved in the marriage business, it must treat all Americans as equal.

And on Monday, many faith-based organizations congregated urging lawmakers to pass a bill ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. More than 30 representatives from faith groups signed a resolution supporting the freedom to marry. Rev. Barbara Grace Ripple explained, "I’m here today in total support of the freedom of all persons who love each other in a committed relationship to be able to marry."

Learn more about the freedom to marry in Hawaii, and be sure to check out Hawaii United for Marriage