Marriage Bill Moves To Full House VoteNovember 5, 2013
For Immediate Release
Honolulu, HI. After reviewing thousands of written testimonies on all sides of the debate including statements from over 8,000 testifiers in support, and after sitting for an unprecedented five days listening to testimony including opponents of marriage equality who were told to “waste time” in order to stall the lawmaking process, the House Judiciary and Finance Committees voted today to move the marriage equality measure to a full floor vote.
“No one can say this process has been rushed. After thoroughly reviewing the arguments on all sides, it’s time for lawmakers to do the job they were elected to do,” said Jacce Mikulanec, board member of the Japanese American Citizens League and a founding member of Hawaii United for Marriage. “The fact is that a silent majority in our community support marriage equality because they understand that it’s time to end discrimination against gay and lesbian couples in Hawaii.”
“Now that the marathon committee hearing is over, lawmakers are left with a very simple choice: Do we want a Hawaii that condones discrimination by one group of people against another group of people, or do we want a Hawaii that treats all people with fairness and respect—no matter what their religion and no matter who they love,” said Lois Perrin, ACLU-Hawaii Legal Director and a founding member of Hawaii United for Marriage.
The measure has split Hawaii’s religious community, with some churches in support and others opposed. Among the testifiers were representatives of the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii, which passed a resolution in favor of same sex marriage. Also supporting the measure was Bishop Eric Matsumoto of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission, who testified that his church wants to perform same sex marriages but current law prohibits that.
Members of the labor and business communities have joined the governor and Hawaii’s Congressional delegation backing the rights of gay couples to legally marry in Hawaii. Local and national public opinion polls show increasing majority support for gay marriage. In an unusual step, President Barack Obama weighed in on the debate, saying he “would welcome a decision by the Legislature to treat all Hawaii couples equally.”
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriages. Hawaii has a civil unions law, but does not allow gay couples to marry.
Hawaii United for Marriage is a statewide coalition of religious congregations, businesses, labor unions and community organizations. More information is available at www.HawaiiUnited.org