US: Equal marriage bill passes Hawaii Senate committee
The equal marriage bill introduced in Hawaii has passed committee stage at the state Senate.
The bill, named Senate Bill 1, passed the Committee on Judiciary and Labor on Monday evening with 5 votes to 2. A day-long hearing took place prior to the vote with 4,000 pages of written testimony and hundreds of people on both sides of the equal marriage argument.
“This measure represents the committee’s best effort to balance the interests of supporters and opponents of this issue,” Senator Clayton Hee, the committee’s chairman, said in a statement. “The Senate’s bill preserves religious freedoms and ensures that the rights of all Americans are preserved as enshrined in the United States and Hawaii Constitutions.”
The bill will soon move to the Senate floor for a full vote, before moving to the House for consideration. S hearing before the House Judiciary and Finance committee is due to take place on Thursday.
Governor Neil Abercrombie released a draft for the bill in August. If Hawaii legalises same-sex marriage, it would become the 14th US state to do so.
The legislation is expected to easily pass in the Senate, and also appears to have enough support to pass in the House, reports Hawaii News Now, which does report that it may be tight.
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