On November 13, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the bill making his state the 16th (including the District of Columbia) to make same-sex partnerships legally equal to traditional marriage. Set to take effect December 2, the bill gained final passage on November 12 with a 19-4 vote in the state Senate, fifteen days after Abercrombie had called a special session to force the measure through the legislature.
“The legalization of marriage for same-sex couples is part of the long history of civil rights movements in the United States,” Abercrombie announced in a statement. He added that passage of the measure represented “a clear example of people exercising courage, determination, and patient perseverance. The result advances equity in marriage and honors all First Amendment religious imperatives.”
President Obama applauded passage of the bill, using the opportunity to re-enforce his claim of Hawaiian birth. “By giving loving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry if they choose, Hawaii exemplifies the values we hold dear as a nation,” said Obama in a prepared statement. “I’ve always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today’s vote makes me even prouder.”
Republican State Representative Bob McDermott, who led the fight against the bill, earlier filed a lawsuit in an attempt to derail the special session, and vowed to continue to fight the law in court.
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Photo of same-sex marriage supporters outside the Hawaii State Capitol in Honolulu: AP Images