October 25, 2013
Next week, Hawaii’s legislature will begin a special session to address marriage equality legislation. Hawaii’s Governor Neil Abercrombie presented legislators with the marriage bill back in August and announced the special session to consider the bill a month later, in September.
The bill was officially filed on Tuesday, October 22, and will be introduced Monday:
The “Hawai’i Marriage Equality Act of 2013″ bill was officially filed Tuesday. Senate officials confirm they will introduce the bill next week Monday, October 28 at the start of the same-sex marriage special session.
Senator Clayton Hee says the first public hearing is scheduled before the Judiciary and Labor committee, which he chairs, on Monday, October 28 at 10:30 a.m. in the State Capitol auditorium
Hee says testimony will be limited to 2 minutes a person, in an effort to accommodate everyone who wishes to address lawmakers.
The Associated Press reports additional details, noting that minor changes have been made to the bill, and that if it’s passed, same-sex couples in the state may get married November 18:
Hawaii could begin issuing licenses and performing ceremonies for gay couples on Nov. 18 if a bill passes during a special session that begins next week.
A Senate draft of the bill to be considered starting Monday says couples would be able to obtain licenses and be married the same day.
The draft released on Tuesday presents gay marriage as an equal rights issue, rather than a marriage issue. It changes sections in state law relating to marriage, marriage benefits and divorce.
The first reading of the bill in the state House is expected on October 31. The bill will proceed through two House committees: Judiciary and Finance.
While Hawaiians await passage of the bill, the plaintiffs’ briefing in the federal challenge to the same-sex marriage ban has been delayed until November 22. That case, Jackson v. Abercrombie, is currently at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals awaiting an appeal from a district court decision siding with opponents of same-sex marriage. The case was on a parallel track with Lambda Legal’s challenge to Nevada’s marriage ban, Sevcik v. Sandoval, until Governor Abercrombie decided to call a special session, since the session may resolve the Hawaii case.
Governor Abercrombie, who is a party to the case but was not a part of the time extension order, has filed his opening brief in support of the plaintiffs’ challenge to the statutes banning same-sex marriage.
Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for this filing