Governor Signs Senate Bill 1, Relating to Equal Rights, into Law

Governor Neil Abercrombie signed into law today a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in the State of Hawaii, making Hawaii the 15th state to enact such legislation.

In a release by the Office of the Governor, Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor Clayton Hee stated, “Although Hawaii was not the first to enact same-sex marriage, what shouldn’t be lost is Hawaii was the first in the Baehr v. Lewin lawsuit, that started the same-sex marriage discussion nationally. I am pleased today to be able to open a new chapter in our state’s history and to join the growing list of states in conferring to all Americans equal treatment under the law.”

Senate Bill 1, Relating to Equal Rights recognizes marriages between individuals of the same gender. In addition, the measure extends to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage to which opposite-sex couples are presently entitled.

The new law takes effect on December 2, 2013.

To view the Governor’s press release: http://governor.hawaii.gov/blog/gov-abercrombie-signs-historic-marriage-equity-legislation-into-law/.

Hawaii State Senate Sends Governor Measure to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Honolulu- In an historic vote, the Hawaii State Senate today passed a measure on final reading  to legalize same-sex marriage in the State of Hawaii, accepting the House amendments to Senate Bill 1 (SB 1 HD 1), Relating to Equal Rights.  The measure will now go to the Governor’s desk for his approval.

Today’s passage of Senate Bill 1 marks a pivotal moment in our State’s history, a moment enshrined in equality and justice,” said Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria, who introduced the bill. “Working together with our colleagues in the State House we have come to a compromise which provides a balance between religious freedom and equal rights.”

SB 1 HD1 recognizes marriages between individuals of the same gender. In addition, the measure extends to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage to which opposite-sex couples are presently entitled.

I am pleased to have played a small part in this legislation which will bring equality, justice, and liberty for all regarding all Americans,” said Senator Clayton Hee, Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor.

Incorporating public input and changes proposed by the House, the measure takes into account the concerns expressed by both the religious community and same-sex advocates. Specifically, language regarding religious exemptions for religious organizations and clergy performing solemnization has been amended to closely model similar provisions currently in effect in the State of Connecticut.

Under SB 1 HD1, religious organizations and affiliated nonprofits would be exempt from having to provide goods, services, or its facilities or grounds for the solemnization or the celebration of solemnization if it is in violation of its religious beliefs or faith. It also specifies that clergy and religious officers are not required to solemnize if it is against their religious beliefs or faith. In addition, the measure grants immunity from administrative, civil, and legal liability to religious organizations and officials for the failure or refusal to provide services, good, or facilities as described. Language has also been included that conforms the above exemptions to the existing civil union statute.

If signed into law by the Governor, same-sex marriages would begin December 2, 2013 in the State.

Hawaii State Senate to Consider House Draft of Marriage Equality Bill

Honolulu- The Hawaii State Senate will convene Tuesday, November 12, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. to consider the proposed House amendments to Senate Bill 1 (SB 1 HD 1), Relating to Equal Rights.

Who: Hawaii State Senate

What: Senate Floor Session regarding the consideration to agree or disagree to SB 1 HD1

When: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

Where:  Hawaii State Senate Chambers

The Hawaii State Senate is currently reviewing the proposed House Draft of Senate Bill 1. Following today’s passage of SB1 HD1 in the House of Representatives, the measure was returned to the Senate for consideration to agree or disagree to the House’s amendments. If the Senate agrees, the bill will be taken up for final reading on Tuesday, November 12, 2013, respectively. If it passes final reading, the bill will be sent to the Governor.

If the Senate disagrees, the bill will be sent to a conference committee to negotiate differences in the measure between the Senate and the House.

The Senate’s floor session will be broadcast live by Capitol TV on Olelo Channel 55 and streamed online at: http://olelo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=91.

Members of the public may also attend the session at the Capitol. Seating is limited and the street level entry doors will be open at approximately 9:30 a.m.  To ensure public safety, individuals entering the chambers will be subject to a bag check and metal detector screening.

To review the bill, receive more information about special session, and keep updated about the bill’s status, please go to: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/splsession.aspx?year=2013b.

Statement by Senator Clayton Hee in Response to House’s Passage of SB 1 H1, Relating to Equal Rights

Honolulu- Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor Clayton Hee released the following statement regarding the House’s passage of Senate Bill 1, House Draft 1 (SB 1 HD1), Relating to Equal Rights.

“The Senate is currently reviewing the proposed House amendments to Senate Bill 1,” said Senator Hee. “Each member will evaluate the House Draft and we will meet to discuss the next appropriate step for the Senate to consider.

I believe each member understands the weight of justice embodied in this legislative proposal. I also believe the Senate will act in the best interest in the State of Hawaii and in concurrence with the constitutions of the United States and Hawaii.”

The Hawaii State Senate will convene Tuesday, November 12, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. to consider the proposed amendments.

Hawaii State Senate Confirms Judge Lloyd A. Poelman to Maui District Court

(Maui Senators congratulate Lloyd A. Poelman on his confirmation to District Court Judge for the Second Circuit, located on Maui.)

Honolulu- The Hawaii State Senate today confirmed the appointment of Lloyd A. Poelman as judge to the District Court of the Second Circuit, located on Maui. He was nominated by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald and was subject to Senate confirmation.

Judge Poelman has established himself as a person of great integrity, judicial competence, and diligence,” said Senator Roz Baker, who represents South and West Maui. “We are honored to confirm him to Maui’s District Court of the Second Circuit.”

Judge Poelman possesses the experience, temperament, and passion for justice essential to serve on a District Court,” said Senator J. Kalani English, who represents Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe. “I believe that the people of Maui will be well-served under his judgeship.”

I am pleased, along with my fellow Maui Senators, to support Judge Poelman’s confirmation,” said Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran, who represents Wailuku, Waihe‘e, Kahului. “I am confident that he will serve the people of Maui well in this position based on his knowledge, compassion, and demeanor.”

Poelman currently serves as a partner in the Wailuku firm of Poelman and Langa, where his practice includes personal and business law, personal injury, bankruptcy, insurance defense, property law, and estate planning. In addition, he serves as a per diem judge presiding in the District Family Court on Maui.

Poleman earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School.

He will serve a term of six years.

Senate Advances Marriage Equality Bill

Honolulu- The Hawaii State Senate today passed a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in the State of Hawaii.

“The Senate’s passage of this bill marks an historic step towards equality, fairness, and justice,” said Senator Clayton Hee, Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor. “I look forward to working with our colleagues in the House as this measure moves forward.”

Senate Bill (SB) 1, Relating to Equal Rights, recognizes marriages between individuals of the same gender. In addition, the measure extends to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage to which opposite-sex couples are presently entitled.

“This measure represents the Senate’s best effort to strike a balance between religious freedom and equal rights,” said Senator Hee. “Language has been included that preserves the sincerely held religious beliefs of religious organizations.”

Incorporating public input, the Senate’s measure takes into account the concerns expressed by both the religious community and same-sex advocates. SB 1 recognizes freedom of religion by:

  • Exempting a religious organization from liability for refusing to make its facilities or grounds available for solemnization of any marriage celebration if the religious organization does not make its facilities or grounds available to the public for solemnization of any marriage celebration for a profit; and
  • Specifying examples of the types of religious organization activities that do not constitute “for a profit.”

The measure has been transmitted to the House for consideration.

To review the bill, receive more information about special session, and keep updated about the bill’s status, please go to: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/splsession.aspx?year=2013b.

 

Hawaii State Senate to Vote on Senate Draft of Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Honolulu- The Hawaii State Senate will convene tomorrow, October 30, 2013, at 11:30 a.m. to vote on the passage of a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in the State of Hawaii.

Who: Hawaii State Senate

What: Third Reading of Senate Bill 1, Relating to Equal Rights

When: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 11:30 a.m.

Where:  Hawaii State Senate Chamber

Senate Bill (SB) 1, Relating to Equal Rights, recognizes marriages between individuals of the same gender. In addition, the measure extends to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage to which opposite-sex couples are presently entitled.

If passed by the full Senate on third reading, the measure will be transmitted to the House for review.

To review the bill, receive more information about special session, and keep updated about the bill’s status, please go to: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/splsession.aspx?year=2013b.

Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor Advances Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Honolulu- By a vote of five to two, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor today advanced a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the State of Hawaii.

Senate Bill (SB) 1, Relating to Equal Rights, recognizes marriages between individuals of the same gender. In addition, the measure extends to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage that opposite-sex couples are presently entitled to.

This measure represents the Committee’s best effort to balance the interests of supporters and opponents of this issue,” said Senator Clayton Hee, Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor. “The Senate’s bill preserves religious freedoms and ensures that the rights of all Americans are preserved as enshrined in the United States and Hawaii Constitutions.”

The bill will now go to the full Senate for a vote.

To review the bill, receive more information about special session, and keep updated about the bill’s status, please go to: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/splsession.aspx?year=2013b.

Update: Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor to Hold Public Hearing

On October 28, 2013 the State Legislature will convene in a special session at 10:00 a.m. to address the issue of marriage equality, as called to order by Governor Neil Abercrombie. Following the convening of special session, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 1, Relating to Equal Rights, on Monday, October 28, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. at the State Capitol Auditorium.

To review the draft bill, receive more information about special session, and keep updated about the bill’s status you can go to: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/splsession.aspx?year=2013b.

If you plan to submit testimony, please review the Committee’s hearing notice at: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/splsession2013b/Hearing%20JDL%2010-28-13.pdf.

Hawaii State Senate Confirms Judge James H. Ashford to Oahu District Court

(Hawaii State Senate confirms James H. Ashford as a district judge for the First Circuit, located on Oahu.)

Honolulu- In a special session, the Hawaii State Senate today confirmed James H. Ashford as District Judge of the First Circuit, located on Oahu.   He was nominated by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald and was subject to Senate confirmation. Judge Ashford fills the vacancy created by the selection of Dean Ochiai as First Circuit Court judge.

A son of Hawaii and of a well known attorney, Judge Ashford has shown himself to be an individual of great candor.  With his appointment I believe that the people of Oahu will be well-served,” said Senator Clayton Hee, who chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor.

Ashford currently serves as a partner at the law firm of Cades Schutte, where his practice focuses on commercial litigation, including real estate disputes, employment law, construction and condominium disputes, trust and estate litigation and education law. He has tried more than 20 cases in state and federal court and is a regular speaker at litigation and employment law seminars in Hawaii and on the mainland.

Ashford earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Loyola Law School.

He will serve a term of six years.

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