Hawaii Close to Final Vote on Marriage Equality

After days of testimony, the Hawaii House of Representatives, late last night,  passed a same-sex marriage bill, 30 to 19. The bill goes back to the Senate next Tuesday and then on to the Governor for  his signature. Today’s New York Times published a great overview of Hawaii’s historic relationship to the struggle for marriage equality.

HONOLULU — When, as most everyone expects, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs into law same-sex marriage here in the coming days, it may almost seem like a routine event. Hawaii is poised to be among 16 states to approve gay marriage, along with Illinois and shortly after Minnesota, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

But the step in Hawaii has special resonance because the contemporary battle over same-sex marriage was born here two decades ago. Such marriages existed nowhere when Ninia Baehr and Genora Dancel, along with two other couples, filed what seemed like an utterly quixotic lawsuit seeking a marriage license. To near universal shock, Hawaii’s Supreme Court granted them a victory in 1993, ruling that a refusal to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry was discriminatory and illegal. Read more.

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