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Hawaii House approves marriage equality bill in initial vote, final vote scheduled for Friday

Marriage equality

Hawaii state sealBy 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 Friday.

The Friday vote will likely succeed by a similar margin to Wednesday’s 30-18 tally, and will go back to the state Senate–which overwhelmingly approved a similar bill last week–for final passage of the bill’s amendments.  (The Senate vote could happen Tuesday.)

We wrote about the changes to the bill in our piece on the House committee vote yesterday:

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 toldHawaii 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.

Intriguingly, one lawmaker–Democratic Rep. Jo Jordan–said she would oppose the bill, even though it would benefit her personally because she is gay:

“No, nobody’s going to beat me up. Nobody’s going to throw me out of my (LGBT) community — I’m not quite sure of that,” Jordan said.

But Jordan said she set aside her beliefs when she listened to five days of testimony during a joint committee hearing and listened with an open heart. Much of spoken public testimony during the hearing came in opposition to the bill.

“I might vote against something that I personally believe in. I personally believe I should have the right,” Jordan said. “You know how hard it is for me to say no? I have to say no.”

The proposed marriage equality bill would allow same-sex couples to wed in the states starting December 2.


  • 1. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 8, 2013 at 10:34 am

    In the light of a new day, I have one point to make about Rep. Jo Jordan. Any time someone on the anti-gay side complains about conflicts of interest, point to Rep. Jordan as an example of a gay person not necessarily voting for pro-gay legislation. As much of a hero as she might become for the anti side, there's a bit of silver lining.

  • 2. Steve  |  November 9, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Which is easily offset by her already becoming NOM's new darling.

  • 3. Dr. Z  |  November 9, 2013 at 5:25 am

    This is inappropriate.

  • 4. Zack12  |  November 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    There are four excused from this vote today.
    Rep Ing,a yes vote is not there but on the plus side,Mele Carroll and Marcus Oshiro aren't either,which means we lose one yes vote but two no votes as well. And if I had to guess who the fourth person missing is,it's Rida Cabanilla,who skipped out on the civil unions vote as well.

  • 5. Sagesse  |  November 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    The Hawaii House has the most undisciplined legislative process I've ever seen. Recess interruptions every 10 minutes… members speaking twice on the same amendment. Sloppy and chaotic.

  • 6. Bruno71  |  November 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Don't worry, it'll be fine. I'm sure of it.

  • 7. Zack12  |  November 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Ing is in the house!
    On a different note,this is the same garbage they tried to pass Wednesday,how long is the anti-side allowed to drag this out?!

  • 8. JayJonson  |  November 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Jordan speaks in favor of the amendment. She is so stupid. The marriage bill has nothing to do with the accommodations act. The pianist they are so happy to cite is in violation of the human rights act right now. He will not be in any more or any less violation when the marriage equality bill is passed. I don't know whether Jordan is truly stupid or just trying to find some fig leaf to justify her disgraceful behavior.

  • 9. Zack12  |  November 8, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    She's still pisted off about her loss of power. She's so blinded by revenge she's willing to hurt herself and the entire LGBT community to get even.

  • 10. Seth From Maryland  |  November 8, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    finally the debate on the bill is called but another recess is called before it begains sigh lets hope this is the last one

  • 11. Zack12  |  November 8, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Now the main event begins,the debate before the votes!

  • 12. Daniel  |  November 8, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Judging by the 29 consecutive failed ammendments, I think it's more than safe to say: marriage equality state number 16 here we come!

  • 13. Seth From Maryland  |  November 8, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    out of recess and so it begains

  • 14. Seth From Maryland  |  November 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    quick recess on the floor, how many of these have we had already

  • 15. Seth From Maryland  |  November 8, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Rep. MarkTakai: "Our LGBT veterans love this country as much as I do. Couples in the military need this support."

  • 16. Seth From Maryland  |  November 8, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Rep. MarkTakai I'm at peace. I made my final decision on this bill after speaking with my wife, who thanked me for this vote "In my 19 years in this House, my wife hasn't spoken on any of my votes. But this vote means a lot to her. And it means a lot to me."

  • 17. Tosh  |  November 8, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    I support this.

  • 18. davep  |  November 8, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    …. I just got home. Is there a live link to the debate & vote? I checked the thread but don't see one….

  • 19. John  |  November 8, 2013 at 10:03 pm

  • 20. davep  |  November 8, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Thanks, watching it now….

  • 21. davep  |  November 8, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Sheeesh, more insanely irrational rhetoric about how a gay couple getting a civil marriage license instead of living together without legal benefits somehow 'denies people the right to practice their religious beliefs". Notice how none of the people who make these remarks have even been able to explain what the hell they are talking about. What utter horse crap.

  • 22. davep  |  November 8, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Speaker: 'Look at what we have here. This doesn't look like aloha to me'. Then stop getting so bent out of shape about other people having their equal rights recognized. It's not all about you. At all.

  • 23. davep  |  November 8, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Hey Bruno, you were right! I just watched her "performance" on the live feed. What a mess.

  • 24. davep  |  November 8, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Another bigot is up at the mic smirking and lying "I do support equality". Apparently only for the people she thinks are entitled to it. How anyone can get up there and say things like that is beyond me.

  • 25. davep  |  November 8, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    …and now Har is up, and she's really worked up and acting all indignant about irrelevant technicalities, trying to pretend that they are somehow relevant….. and NOW she's acting all angry about something that happened in 1998!! This woman is real piece of work – lots of rhetoric and tap dancing, full of bluster and manufactured indignation, but not one word to justify why civil laws should be allowed to continue disadvantaging couples who are gay. Not a word about the actual topic. Not one word to justify voting against marriage equality. Another lying coward.

  • 26. davep  |  November 8, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Oooh the speaker after Har dissed her by saying that some legislators were not honest about their motives for opposing the bill. She just demanded a rebuttal and insisted that she's 'not a bigot'. Looks like the other speaker's comment hit close to home….

  • 27. StraightDave  |  November 8, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    She also wanted to be insulated/protected from the free speech of others calling her out. That's how entitled she thinks she is. Can dish it out but can't take it. I'd love to watch an impromptu interview with her right after the final vote.

  • 28. davep  |  November 8, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Aw crap the live stream just died before the vote!! Anybody have another working link??

  • 29. davep  |  November 8, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Found it:

  • 30. StraightDave  |  November 8, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Another reliable one in case of emergency

    One more joker carrying on about the ancient Jews, etc. The other reps not wanting to speak donated him all their time. sigh….

  • 31. StraightDave  |  November 8, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    ready to call the vote, any second now.

  • 32. davep  |  November 8, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    …. as soon as this lengthy religious lecture is over. Sheeesh.

  • 33. davep  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Bah! Recessed before they voted.

  • 34. davep  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:02 am

    They are back!

  • 35. davep  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Doh! No they're not.

  • 36. StraightDave  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:03 am

    a recess ?!?!?!? WTF
    they were all ready to vote. Must be just some jerk screwing with the system to delay things out of spite.

  • 37. davep  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:03 am

    OK NOW they are back.

  • 38. StraightDave  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:04 am

    they came back quickly. house gaveled to order. another recess request. now they're just being A-holes

  • 39. davep  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Aw jeeez they are calling roll vote one by one….. No high-tech electronic sign board tallying votes instantly like New York.

  • 40. davep  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:07 am

    It PASSES 30 to 19!!

  • 41. StraightDave  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:07 am

    It passes 30-19

  • 42. Michelle Evans  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Wonderful news!! Thanks for keeping a running update for the rest of us.

  • 43. weshlovrcm  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Yayyyy! After listening to the testimony on and off for the last 4 – 5 hours, I can't take anymore. The debate in Hawaii during this session has been the nastiest I've seen in government. It's like watching hundreds of obnoxious Maggie Gallaghers or Tony Perkins! I feel dirty and need a shower.

  • 44. StraightDave  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:09 am

    now go home. I don't want to see those guys again for a long loooong time

  • 45. davep  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:12 am

    I'm now going to watch an episode of The Daily Show to clean some of that stupid crud out of my ears. Catch you guys Monday and have a good weekend!

  • 46. Bruno71  |  November 9, 2013 at 12:31 am

    In the end, a block of 30 voters was finalized after amendments were added in committee, and it never wavered. There were no surprises whatsoever in the final vote. Here's the roll call:

  • 47. Sagesse  |  November 9, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Thank goodness that's over. I know it's the legislative process, but if it were possible I think someone owes the Hawaii LGBT community a giant apology for the vile way they were treated, all to delay the inevitable. I have not heard, but I hope that angry, nasty mob outside the legislature didn't get out of hand afterwards. Whoever organized and incited them is a low form of humanity.

    Congratulations, Hawaii. Hoping for a happy and uneventful Senate confirmation and signing next week. Thanks to all who stuck it out and commented for the sleeping east coast rest of us.

  • 48. davep  |  November 9, 2013 at 8:41 am

    re: "whoever organized and incited them is a low form of humanity".

    That would be NOM, per usual.

  • 49. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 9, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Let's hope McDermott's court challenge is immediately smacked down. Seeing his grumpy face afterward would be delightful.

  • 50. Zack12  |  November 9, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    IMO,some of the legislators need to be taken to task for that.
    Richard Fale went out to the crowd numerous times and if you saw the hearings,Sharon Har,Gene Ward and Bob McDermott were only too happy to drag out the questions with misinformation and lies.
    And of course,Sharon Har complained about being called a bigot. She compared us to pedophiles and bigamists and let all the other garbage be spewed about us but god forbid she gets called a bigot.

  • 51. grod  |  November 11, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Reflections: It may prove useful to future Equality initiatives to parse the 6,600 anti-equality testimonials given in both Houses: Let the majority determine minority rights, child-rearing at home and school, adherence to 'God' instructions etc. In another post, it was asked: Who funded the opposition? The frequent use messages related to the stereotype nuclear family and post-2005 changes to Massachusetts' and Canada's curriculum were trademark fear-and-apprehension strategies of NOM and its proxies. What can the Equality Now advocates learn from this encounter that can applied in future ones?

  • 52. Kalbo  |  November 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Incredible moment! Proud I was there with some amazing people! ^_^

    [youtube Ceh_9qKxDxg&feature=share youtube]

  • 53. davep  |  November 11, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Wow, Kalbo. That. Was. Awesome. Thanks so much for posting this! This brings up all the memories of our previous victories – here in California, New York, that incredible rally in Madison Wisconsin back when NOM was taking their horrible bus tour around the country… If I can make a suggestion, Kalbo – maybe post another comment under the most recent article on the site, directing people here to this video (or just repost the video there in the new article). Everybody should see this. And fair warning guys, get your hankies ready for 7:50 : ) !!

  • 54. W. Kevin Vicklund  |  November 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Cogradulations! HI Senate passes 19-4.

  • 55. grod  |  November 12, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    HI Governor to sign bill tomorrow!

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