Hawaii legislature will consider gay marriage

September 10, 2013

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) has called the state legislature back into special session to vote on legalizing same-sex marriage, a step that likely means he’s corralled the necessary votes to pass a bill.

Democrats have overwhelming majorities in both the state House and Senate, but some Democratic legislators weren’t on board with a same-sex marriage bill. Party leaders met in late August to count the votes; Abercrombie said he would call a special session if legislators could agree on language that would withstand a court challenge.

“The merits of holding a special session include the opportunity for the Legislature to focus squarely on this important issue, without having to divert attention to the hundreds of other bills introduced during a regular session,” Abercrombie said in a statement.

Hawaii was one of the first states to put a ban on same-sex marriages in its constitution, back in 1998. But in 2011, the legislature legalized civil unions for same-sex couples. Now, with Democrats controlling 44 of 51 state House seats and all but one of the 25 seats in the state Senate, the state is likely headed for a full reversal.

The legislature will meet Oct. 28 to consider the bill.

Reid Wilson covers state politics and policy for the Washington Post's GovBeat blog. He's a former editor in chief of The Hotline, the premier tip sheet on campaigns and elections, and he's a complete political junkie.
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Reid Wilson · September 9, 2013