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.
Posted by Hawaii Senate Majority Caucus