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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
The Hawaii House of Representatives passed a third reading of an amended version of SB 1, the "Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013" late Friday night. After hours of procedural delays, which involved motion after motion introduced by Representatives who have stood in opposition to same-sex marriage -- the House finally voted on the bill, passing it 30 - 19 with two legislators excused.
Advocates of the bill, who flooded the mauka side of the Capitol Rotunda, erupted in cheers and tears of joy as they reached for each other hugging and kissing their fellow same-sex marriage supporters. Across the way on the makai side, opponents fell quiet after hours of chanting "Let the people vote!" -- many held hands and bowed their heads in prayer.
The following Representatives voted YES:
- Rep. Della Au Belatti (D - Moiliili, Makiki, Tantalus)
- Rep. Tom Brower (D - Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kakaako)
- Rep. Ryan Yamane (D - Mililani, Waipio, Waikele)
The following Representatives were EXCUSED:
- Rep. Rida Cabanilla (D - Ewa Beach, West Loch Estates)
- Rep. Isaac Choy (D - Manoa, Punahou, Moiliili)
In a statement released by the Governor's office immediately following the bill, Governor Neil Abercrombie -- who called the Special Session -- said the following:
"I commend the House of Representatives for taking this historic vote to move justice and equality forward.
"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.
"I applaud Speaker Souki, Judiciary Chair Rhoads, Finance Chair Luke, Majority Leader Saiki and the rest of the leadership team for their patience, fairness and hard work in shepherding this bill through the House.
"I am confident that the Senate will address the bill in the same spirit. I look forward to a successful conclusion to this major step in affirming everyone's civil rights."
SB 1, House Draft 1 expands the bills original religious exemptions to protect clergy from refusing to perform wedding ceremonies and religious institutions from being compelled to allow wedding celebrations or provide wedding goods or services to a same-sex couple.
SB 1, HD 1 now crosses over to the Senate, where officials confirm it will be taken up Tuesday, November 12 (following the Veterans Day holiday) at 10 a.m.
Senate Judiciary and Labor committee Chair Clayton Hee released the following statement regarding the House's passage of SB 1, HD 1:
"The Senate is currently reviewing the proposed House amendments to Senate Bill 1," said Senator Hee. "Each member will evaluate the House Draft and we will meet to discuss the next appropriate step for the Senate to consider.
I believe each member understands the weight of justice embodied in this legislative proposal. I also believe the Senate will act in the best interest in the State of Hawaii and in concurrence with the constitutions of the United States and Hawaii."
If SB 1, HD 1 passes in the Senate and is signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, it will go into effect December 2, 2013.