Hawaii approves same-sex marriage bill

“After more than 50 hours of public testimony from thousands of testifiers on both sides of the issue, evaluating dozens of amendments, and deliberating procedures through hours of floor debates, the House passed this significant bill, which directly creates a balance between marriage equity for same-sex couples and protects our First Amendment freedoms for religious organizations,” Abercrombie said in a statement Friday.

Illinois became the 15th state to approve marriage equality earlier in the week  and Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill into law on Nov. 20.

In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples was unconstitutional, leading to the passage of DOMA in 1996. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a major portion of DOMA was unconstitutional.

n 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court’s ruling in the historic Baehr case made it the first court in the world not to rubberstamp gay couples’ exclusion from marriage, holding that the denial of the freedom to marry was presumptively unconstitutional unless the government could show sufficient reason for its discrimination. The decision launched the ongoing global movement for the freedom to marry that has resulted in 15 states with the freedom to marry and national support at a solid majority, alongside 18 countries on five continents where same-sex couples can marry.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry and co-counsel of the 1993 historic Baehr case in Hawaii “that made it the first court in the world not to rubberstamp gay couples’ exclusion from marriage” and launched the global movement for marriage equality, issued this statement:

“With [the] vote by the Hawaii House of Representatives, we are close to bringing the freedom to marry home in the state where it all started. The historic Baehr case made the Hawaii Supreme Court the first court in the world to rule in favor of same-sex couples in 1993, the Hawaii Senate overwhelmingly approved the freedom to marry by 20-4 last week, and we will continue working with Senate leaders over the days ahead to finish the job in the legislature and get the freedom to marry bill to the governor’s desk to be signed into law at long last,” he said.