Political Radar

`Very shortly'

July 4th, 2013

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Wednesday that it is premature to say whether he might call for a special session of the Legislature on gay marriage. But the governor suggested a decision could come soon.

The governor said his administration is still reviewing the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings last week on same-sex marriage to determine the impact on a pending federal court challenge to the state's marriage law.

Both same-sex and heterosexual couples in Hawaii are able to enter into civil unions and receive the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as marriage under state law. But the marriage law is reserved for heterosexual couples.

The Supreme Court ruled last week that legally married gay couples are entitled to federal benefits.

"If we can get an understanding as to what the direction is and an agreement about what to do, then we'll take up the question of whether we should move before the next legislative session is formally required," Abercrombie said. "Because when you're talking about issues of equality and justice, you don't want to delay them unnecessarily or arbitrarily.

"So the question of whether or not we move sooner rather than later will be answered very shortly."

Some lawmakers and gay rights activists have called for a special session to take up gay marriage rather than wait for the next regular session in January.

Two-thirds' support in the state House and Senate is required for lawmakers to initiate a special session. The governor, however, has the power to call lawmakers back to the state Capitol.

5 Responses to “`Very shortly'”

  1. Manoa Kahuna:

    It would be wise and beneficial for Hawaii to move boldly ahead now that the Supreme Court and public opinion make marriage available to all the new normal.

  2. Auto de Fe:

    In order to bring the new world order an achieve utopia, we must now ban heterosexual marriages and confiscate their children. We can auction them off at the next Miss Trans Waikiki Pageant. Think of it as an affirmative action program to benefit the 'new normal'.

  3. kamaaina808:

    Better yet, get the Government out of the marriage business. Civil unions for all = equal in the eyes of the law. If any of them want to get 'marriage' ceremonies elsewhere, fine.

  4. Kolea:

    That the Legislature was unable/unwilling to pass full marriage equality in the past session is testimony to weaknesses. Not just in the Legislature, but in the larger body politic. A majority of legislators supports full marriage equality. But they are cautious about voting for such a law because they fear the effects of a mythical "backlash." Not necessarily for themselves, as most can safely get re-elected. But for the more vulnerable ones in tough districts.

    I think the mean-spirited "red shirt" mob organized by the Mormon, Catholic and conservative Protestant churches can no longer be mobilized to express hostility to the idea of gay equality. Most of them know they have lost this battle and most and coming to terms with the evolving society. Gays and lesbians are no longer as scary to them as they once were. In part, because increased liberal views have created a space for the bolder gays--or those with life circumstances which afford them more freedom-- to come out of the closet as our friends, neighbors, children and co-workers.

    We need to "hold the hand" of our legislators and help them move forward, knowing that shadow in the closet is not a boogeyman and the mob with pitchforks and torches will not lynch them for embracing as "ohana" our gay relatives. I don't think a Special Session should be necessary, if we all are confident, honest and proceed from the heart. BUT there are those who have made angry threats in the past over this issue and there are politicians who are scared. So instead of forcing OUR legislators to vote on this in an "election year" when their fears may be inflated, let's grant them a special session. Quick and fast, dedicated to this one piece of legislation. Hold a hearing so no one can complain they "were not heard." Let it go on for hours and hours, if need be, so everyone can get their say and no one can say the decision was "rushed through." Then vote on it and PAU. The hold a big party in the streets and hug each other and dance.

    It has been HARD work and there have been strong emotions felt and expressed. But together, we have mid-wifed this birth-- Hawaii was there AT THE BEGINNING. (A shout out to Bill Woods!) And there is cause to celebrate, embrace and move on. All of us better than before.

    So "I vote" for a special session. Let's finish what we started over 20 years ago. Aloha!

  5. Goober:

    Procrastinate. Done well
    when something is not worth passing.

    Those who speak the loudest are usually
    the ones not worth listening to.

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