The Hawaii State Senate is expected to vote on a controversial same-sex marriage for the final time Tuesday morning.
Senate leadership has indicated the bill will likely pass 21 to 4 -- closely mirroring earlier Senate votes at the start of the Special Session two weeks ago, when SB 1 passed 20 to 4 with one Senator excused because of a family emergency.
The Senate is expected to approve the amended version of SB 1, the "Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013", which passed out of the House of Representatives late Friday night 30 to 19, with 2 excused. SB 1, House Draft 1 expands the bill's 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.
If it passes, it will head to Governor Neil Abercrombie, who is expected to sign it into law tomorrow, Wednesday, November 13. Once signed by the Governor, it will go into effect December 2, 2013.
Very similar security procedures will be in place for those who gathered at the Capitol last week Friday for the House of Representatives' third reading of SB 1, HD 1. Officials say the new rules, not only helped maintain the peace, but also kept things fair. There were no reported incidents.
Here's what you can expect if you're heading to the State Capitol:
· Capitol Rotunda: Supporters of marriage equality will have a dedicated zone on the mauka side and opponents of marriage equality will have a dedicated zone on the makai side. (see attached map)
· Beretania Street: Sign-waving space will be divided among both groups. Supporters of marriage equality will be on both sides of Beretania Street from the Damien statue towards Punchbowl Street. Opponents of marriage equality will be on both sides of Beretania Street from the Damien Statue towards Downtown.
· Senate Gallery: Seating in the gallery is limited. The gallery will be evenly split down the middle with an equal allocation of space for both sides. There will be entrances open on each side of the gallery for the public to enter their respective seating areas. Session will convene at 10:00 AM. Public seating in the gallery will begin at 9:15 AM. Everyone entering the gallery will be subject to a bag check and metal detector screening.
If you are unable to get a seat in the gallery and would like to view the floor session, additional viewing areas will be available in the Capitol rotunda (street level). The floor session will also be broadcast live on www.hawaiinewsnow.com, courtesy 'Olelo Channel 55.
· Restrooms: Restrooms are located in the chamber/basement level and on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors. No restrooms are available on the rotunda (street) level.
In the Senate Chamber Gallery the public is kindly reminded and asked to adhere to the following:
Ø Refrain from audible conversation.
Ø Refrain from any outbursts and demonstrations of approval or disapproval of proceedings. (Cheering, Jeering, Applauding, Whistling, Hand Gestures, etc.)
Ø Do not act in a disorderly or distracting manner.
Ø Silence all cell phones or other sound-emitting devices.
Ø No smoking, food, or beverages.
Ø No Signs or posters.
Ø Comply with any other request by the Presiding officer and Sergeant at Arms to maintain order.