By OSKAR GARCIA
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii could begin issuing licenses and performing ceremonies for gay couples on Nov. 18 if a bill passes during special session next week.
A Senate draft of the bill to be considered starting Monday says couples would be able to obtain licenses and be married the same day.
The draft posted Tuesday presents gay marriage as an equal rights issue, rather than a marriage issue. It changes sections in state law relating to marriage, marriage benefits and divorce.
The Legislature has begun accepting testimony on the bill, which will be introduced Monday and immediately referred to the Judiciary Committee.
Lawmakers and advocacy groups have pressed the issue since the summer, following two U.S. Supreme Court rulings seen as wins for gay marriage proponents. Gov. Neil Abercrombie called the special session.