Tuesday, November 12, 2013

... And Hawai Makes it Sweet Sixteen!

The Hawaii state legislature today placed a marriage equality bill on the desk of Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who has pledged he will sign it, making Hawaii the sixteenth state to legalize same-gender marriage.

However, the question of which state will actually be the next to offer such licenses is in flux. Illinois, which passed a marriage equality bill last week, was originally going to start recognizing the nuptials in June of next year, while Hawaii's weddings are expected to start in December.  Sen. Don Harmon has introduced a bill which may make it happen sooner, however.

The Bishop of Hawaii, the Right Rev. Robert L. Fitzpatrick, is squarely in favor of the ruling.  On September 2nd (the birthday of Queen Liliuokalani, the last Hawaiian monarch), he sent Gov. Abercrombie and all members of the legislature a letter endorsing the bill as it was being debated.  When the Diocese met in convention on September 27th, delegates passed a resolution endorsing marriage equality, making the Episcopal Church the largest denomination in Hawaii to do so.

"We have been moving toward full inclusion as a diocese and a church for a very long time. So for us, once civil unions were allowed in the state, we allowed the blessing of civil unions as one of the realities of our diocese," Bishop Fitzpatrick told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, "So the next move toward civil marriage is just the natural consequence."

Mohalo to Integrity Hawaii, Bishop Fitzpatrick, and all who work for justice and equality!

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