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Hawaii House committee approves marriage equality bill

Marriage equality

Hawaii state sealA joint committee of the Hawaii House of Representatives yesterday afternoon approved a marriage equality bill by an 18-12 margin, after several marathon days of public comment on the issue–some 57 hours in all and more than 5,000 registered speakers.

The most significant change to the legislation came in the form of an expanded religious exemption that will protect religious organizations–either for-profit or not-for-profit–from facing fines if they refuse to perform a same-sex couple’s wedding.

“The biggest amendment, the most important amendment, was expanding the religious exemption.” House Judiciary Committee Chair Karl Rhoads told Hawaii News Now.  “It’s based on the Connecticut language — of the states that have same-sex marriage.  Connecticut is one of the broadest exemptions.”

Another change removed a provision from the legislation that some worried would unfairly allow some children of same-sex couples to be considered Native Hawaiians.  In addition, the new effective date of the bill will be December 2, 2013.

The bill will now move to the House floor for a second reading and a vote sometime this morning, local time.  It is expected to pass, although the vote will likely be closed.  After a 48-hour hold, the bill would face a third and final vote, which could come as early as Friday.  The state Senate approved a similar marriage equality bill last week by an overwhelming margin, although another vote will be required to approve the changes made in the House.

1 Comment

  • 1. Hawaii House approves mar&hellip  |  November 7, 2013 at 8:02 am

    […] a sizable margin, the Hawaii House approved a marriage equality bill that yesterday passed out of committee, setting up a final vote on the measure […]

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