Constitutional Law and Civil Rights

Abercrombie Calls Gay Marriage Special Session

Saying the votes are there, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) called for a special session next month to allow lawmakers to act on legislation that would make the Aloha State the 14th to legalize same-sex marriage. The session has been scheduled for Oct. 28.

"The decision to call a special session is based on doing what is right to create equity for all in Hawaii," Abercrombie said at a Capitol press conference last Monday. "Every variation on a view with regard to the issue of marriage and equitable treatment for those engaged in marriage has been aired, has been analyzed, has been discussed. No one has been left out or has been marginalized in the process to this point."

Abercrombie said he wanted lawmakers to deal with the issue now rather than next session in part because of tax implications this year. He also wanted to ensure the measure had lawmakers' full attention.

"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," he said.

He proposed draft legislation for the bill in August, but while the bill (SB 1369) was sent to both the Senate Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees, it never received a hearing. Abercrombie has since held several meetings with lawmakers to lobby for the measure. Although both Legislative chambers are overwhelmingly held by Democrats, the vote is expected to be close in the House. (ASSOCIATED PRESS, BIGISLANDNOW.COM)

— Compiled by RICH EHISEN

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