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Hawaii House clears marriage bill, Senate concurrence vote Tuesday [Keen News]

November 9, 2013

Good summary of the final day of House debate, and looking ahead.

The Hawaii House gave final approval Friday evening to a marriage equality bill, putting Hawaii on track to become the 16th state plus the District of Columbia to allow same-sex couples to marry. The tally was 30 to 19.

The voting and amendment process was a raucous one, with numerous calls for recess as members wrestled over rules, time limits, and disputes over fair play. All the while, the sound of protesters chanting and pounding on things could frequently be heard in the background on the web stream and grew louder as the moment for the final vote neared….

The bill now goes back to the senate for concurrence, a vote that many expect to go through without debate on Tuesday, November 12. Even though Abercrombie has promised to sign the legislation, due to go into effect December 2, there may be additional battles ahead.

In response to a legal challenge from an opponent of the bill, a state circuit court judge in Hawaii said Thursday that, if the legislature passes and the governor signs the marriage equality bill, he would entertain the challenge to the new law. According to the StarAdvertiser, Judge Karl Sakamoto indicated he thinks the bill may be in conflict with a constitutional amendment voters passed in 1998. That amendment read: “Shall the Constitution of the state of Hawaii be amended to specify that the legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples?”

Congratulations Hawaii!

17 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. bayareajohn  |  November 9, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    There's no rational way that giving the legislature the power to RESERVE marriage to opposite sex couples could be construed to mean that they DON'T have the power to CHOOSE NOT TO DO SO. The amendment was not an instruction to reserve, it was specifying it as a power. The POWER to declare war is not, contrary to the GOP practice, a REQUIREMENT to declare war… there must be more to this if a judge is really considering hearing it.

  • 2. Zack12  |  November 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I hope its smacked down ASAP. If it isn't,then I hope it's appealed to the higher courts as soon as possible.
    The bigots aren't going to give up which is why I sadly think the federal lawsuit against Hawaii should continue.
    The federal courts can nullify any ruling against us that this judge or any other state judge will do.

  • 3. Anthony  |  November 9, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Not worried about this honestly. Any law banning same sex marriage is now in conflict with the Supreme Court's Windsor decision, so that would overrule this state judge if he issues an opinion to the contrary.

  • 4. Alan948  |  November 9, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Anthony: "Any law banning same sex marriage is now in conflict with the Supreme Court's Windsor decision"

    That's simply not true, and to claim it is is similar to the bogus argument that McDermott is making in Hawaii that the "power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples" is somehow an obligation rather than a power.

    The Supreme Court ruled in Windsor that every state has the power (not obligation) to grant same-sex couples marriages that will be recognized by the federal government. The court went out of its way to say that it was not ruling on whether states are required to allow same-sex couples to marry.

    "The class to which DOMA directs its restrictions and restraints are those persons who are joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State. DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. … The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment. This opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages."

    Like many people, I think there's a pretty good chance that the Supreme Court will rule sometime in the next couple years that any law banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. However, you can't just pretend that that's already happened.

  • 5. Anthony  |  November 9, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Yes but the groundwork has been laid. It was an equal protection ruling. How can you say gays have to be treated equally federally and then allow many states to ban their marriages in the first place? It makes no logical sense. Gays will be elevated to heightened scrutiny in the next case, and by extension all the remaining state gay marriage bans will be invalidated.

  • 6. Zack12  |  November 9, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I agree with Anthony on this one. If nothing else,Scalia even said as much and we all know how much he loves the gays.

  • 7. Bruno71  |  November 9, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    He also loves federalism. And the 1st Amendment. A lot. He thinks corporations are people with rights. I think he'll rule in our favor too, eventually, but only with heightened scrutiny and not for at least a few years will they grant cert on a national case.

  • 8. Zack12  |  November 10, 2013 at 12:44 am

    I think the 9th will simply strike down all the bans in their jurisdictions and the courts will refuse to hear it.
    But make no mistake,Kennedy wants to strike down bans as part of his legacy.
    Boggles me how someone who can be right on some issues like gay marriage and the death penalty can be so wrong on others.

  • 9. Sagesse  |  November 10, 2013 at 8:17 am

    The most telling thing to watch as this case goes forward is whether there will be a stay. My guess would be no. Also wondering if someone will try to get the 9th circuit to stay marriages in Hawaii while the parallel Hawaii/Nevada constitutional challenges are heard.

  • 10. JayJonson  |  November 10, 2013 at 8:46 am

    I do not think Scalia will EVER rule in our favor. Just because he thinks that other justices will do the right thing by following the majority decisions in Romer, Lawrence, and Windsor to their logical conclusion, which is that gay people should enjoy equal protection of the law, does not mean that he will do so. I suspect that he and Thomas and Alito (and maybe Roberts) will continue to deny equal protection to gay people on whatever pretext they can find. (Another reason why we must keep a Democratic President in the White House for at least another 4 years before we can feel secure that the progress we have made in gaining equal rights through the federal judiciary is real.)

  • 11. Zack12  |  November 10, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Oh don't get me wrong,Scalia will remain a bigot until the day he dies.
    But he also rightfully called the path Lawrence V Texas would take in regards to gay marriage in his very,very angry dissent.
    If you can't use laws to target people just because they're gay (which is what the sodomy laws were used for) then it's going to be hard to deny marriage equality for that same reason.
    And as Scalia pointed out,part of that same logic was used to strike down DOMA.
    If the Federal government can't exclude people from protections because they're gay,the states are gonna have a hard time justifying the same thing,and Scala and the other bigots know it.
    THey won't admit it but they know it.

  • 12. Bruno71  |  November 10, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I got a little confused. My post was about Kennedy instead of Scalia. Scalia will never vote for gay rights in any way shape or form.

  • 13. Zack12  |  November 10, 2013 at 11:09 am

    You can be sure McDermott and company will do both of those scenarios and anything else to try and stall or kill gay marriage there.
    But I still go with the DOMA ruling being a game changer. They are going to have a much harder time then they did before with stunts like that.

  • 14. Anthony  |  November 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Scalia is like your old grandpa that still is stuck in the 1950s. No wonder he is so angry in his dissents, he has no clue how much society has changed since he was growing up.

  • 15. Jim  |  November 12, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Does anyone know what time today the Hawaii Senate meets today to vote on SSM and if there will be a live stream

  • 16. Warren  |  November 12, 2013 at 10:52 am

    SCHEDULE FOR TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2013 The Senate will convene at 2:00pm on Tuesday, November 12, 2013.

    Hawaii is 3 hours behind West Coast Time during Standard time. During Daylight Savings Time Hawaii is 2 hours behind West Coast Time.

  • 17. Linda Ann  |  November 12, 2013 at 10:55 am

    The Senate's floor session will be streamed online at <> at 10 A.M. Hawaii time.