Countdown to same-sex special session

Published: Oct. 21, 2013 at 2:54 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 21, 2013 at 4:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With the legalization of same-sex marriages in New Jersey Monday, the spotlight on the gay marriage debate turns to Hawaii's legislature.

Proponents of same-sex marriages say they have overwhelming support to make Hawaii the 15th state to legalize gay marriages while opponents say it will be a close call.

"It's not if we win -- It's how big we win," said Michael Golojuch, president of the GLBT Caucus of the Hawaii Democratic Party.

"We're on the right side of history on this. We have the Supreme Court behind us. We have the president behind us."

Golojuch is referred to the U.S. High Court's ruling this summer that gay couples deserve equal rights and benefits under federal law, which prompted Gov. Abercrombie to call next week's special session.

But opponents of same-sex marriages say there's still some resistance among state lawmakers and that the issue should be decided during the regular session of the Legislature.

"This can go either way. In the last 30 years, this issue has been decided by votes of 26 to 25 over and over. I see it that close," said former state Rep and U.S. Senate candidate Cam Cavasso, a longtime opponent of same-sex marriages.

(A special session) is a waste of money, an abuse of power, it's a waste of energy."

Both sides say that in recent days the lobbying campaigns by both sides has gotten more intense.

"I'm personally speaking with representatives on both sides of the issue," Cavasso said.

"I met yesterday with the chief of staff for (House Speaker) Joe Souki to discuss the issue and he's being heavily lobbied on both sides."

And the debate will only get louder in the says ahead.

Additional rallies and sign waving protests are being planned while opponents to same sex marriages are setting up phone banks to get voters to contact their lawmakers about the issue.

"What we're hearing is they're trying to pull out all of the stops," said Golojuch.

"Their big mainland money is coming in now. We're going to see radio ads, TV ads. It's going to get ugly."

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