(Update) Hawaii Special Session for SB1 – Hawaii Marriage Equity Act: full House approves second read

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Hawaii House has approved SB1 on the second read, setting up the final third read vote on Friday. Opposition Fails (Honolulu Star-Advertiser, subscription required):

EqualThe state House voted late Wednesday to move forward with a marriage equality bill after a day of drama and emotion where lawmakers plowed through numerous procedural motions and amendments that would have postponed action or significantly amended the bill to expand a religious exemption.

The 30-18 decision sets up a final House vote on Friday to fulfill a 48-hour notice requirement. If the House approves the bill, it would return to the Senate for another review next week.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser has an editorial opinion today in favor of passage of SB1. Marriage equality path clear as ever (subscription required) (tease):

Same-sex couples and heterosexual couples deserve the same marriage rights, and the special session of Hawaii's Legislature has made this essential truth even more obvious.

Lawmakers should move swiftly to approve a measure that succeeds in bestowing overdue legal recognition to same-sex couples, while preserving the religious liberty of those who so outspokenly oppose this advancement of civil rights.

The Hawaii Senate will take up the amended bill after the Veteran's Day holiday on Monday.

UPDATE: The Hawaii Tribune-Herlad reports:

A Hawaii judge has rejected a move to block lawmakers from legalizing gay marriage in a special session, but said he’ll hear the challenge if a law is passed.

Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto on Thursday said many voters might have thought they were voting to narrowly limit marriage when they voted on a constitutional amendment in 1998. The amendment gave the Legislature the power to decide whether to limit marriage.

Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican who has fought the bill, says he will go back to court right away if a new law passes.

The House will vote on the bill Friday, then give it to the Senate for final approval before it’s sent to Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports, House meets for final debate, vote on same-sex marriage bill:

House leaders have said they are confident that they have sufficient votes to pass the bill today and send it back to the Senate, where it could be heard on Thursday.

Senators said Thursday that although they prefer their version of the bill, which contains a narrower religious exemption, they are inclined to take the House version, provided it is not amended further. If the Senate agrees to the House version Tuesday, it would go directly to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature.

"That seems like the prevailing mood of the members I spoke to," said Sen. Clayton Hee (D, Heeia-Laie-Waia-lua), chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee.

Hee said he is not pleased with the broader religious exemption in the House bill. "However, having said that, it doesn't detract from making second-class citizens first-class citizens," he said.

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