Hawaii is 15th state to legalize gay marriage

November 12, 2013

Hawaii was poised to become the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage Tuesday evening after state senators sent legislation to Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s (D) desk.

After a same-sex marriage bill hit legislative roadblocks earlier this year, and after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, Abercrombie called the legislature back into special session to pass a compromise measure. The new version of the bill includes protections for religious officials who object to same-sex marriage.

Related: Gay marriage status in the US

The state House of Representatives heard 56 hours of public testimony over five days last week. On Friday night, the House passed the marriage bill by a 30-19 vote.

The state Senate, which passed its version of the same-sex marriage bill by a 20-4 margin earlier this year, passed the House version when it met Tuesday. Abercrombie has said he will sign the bill.

The compromise bill allows same-sex couples to get marriage licenses as early as Dec. 2.

Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott said in a letter to Abercrombie on Friday he will file a request for a temporary restraining order if the bill passes, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported Tuesday. A state judge has said he will hear the case if the bill passes.

Hawaii will give same-sex marriage proponents its second big win in two weeks. Illinois lawmakers passed a same-sex marriage bill on Nov. 5, and Gov. Pat Quinn (D) said in a statement he would sign it at a public ceremony on Nov. 20.

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 | November 12, 2013