Same-sex couples begin marrying in Hawaii as the freedom to marry takes effect

This morning, December 2, the freedom to marry took effect in Hawaii, allowing same-sex couples across the state to finally share in the joys of marriage. Among the couple who wed were Ethan Wung (left) and Keola Akana (right).

At the end of October, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie called together a special session in the state for the purpose of considering a bill to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. After days of deliberation and hours of testimony from supporters and opponents, the marriage bill finally passed on November 9. Four days later, on November 13, Gov. Abercrombie signed the bill into law, and Hawaii became the 15th state with the freedom to marry. 

Today's weddings - many of which took place at the stroke of midnight - mark the exciting culmination of a 20-year journey for the freedom to marry in Hawaii. In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court became the first appellate in history to rule in favor of same-sex couples and to acknowledge that exclusion from marriage is discrimination and presumptively unconstitutional. And now, in 2013, the state has joined the ranks of 15 other states and the District of Columbia to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. 

Read more about the 20-year journey Hawaii has taken on marriage, including the role that Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson played in that first victory, HERE