Hawaii Senate Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill in 20-4 Vote

Hawaii’s Senate passed a historic marriage equality bill with overwhelming support in a 20-4 vote on Wednesday. The vote came after several hours of debate in a special legislative session called by Governor Neil Abercrombie. Monday.

The bill will now move on to the House for debate. If any amendments are made to the bill in the House, it would have to come back to the Senate for review before moving to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature.

The Star Advertiser reports:

A joint House committee hearing scheduled for Thursday was expected to keep lawmakers working while trick-or-treaters celebrate Halloween.

House Majority Leader Scott Saiki says it’s likely the chamber will amend the bill to change religious exemptions. The Senate bill currently exempts ministers and other clergy from having to perform gay wedding ceremonies, but not for-profit businesses.

“The House committees recognize that there is still a lot of public concern about the scope of the exemptions,” Saiki said.

The Halloween joint hearing between the House judiciary and finance committees is expected to last until midnight, then carry over to Friday if there are still people wanting to testify.

Sen. Clayton Hee, shared a story about the island of Niihau, home to 130 people, who are mostly Native Hawaiians, and their maluhia of the island, a Hawaiian word that translates to peace.

“To most of us who understand Hawaiian, the word maluhia means peace, such as in the Christmas song “Silent Night” where the word maluhia is sung over and over again, but to Bruce Robinson and the native people of Niihau maluhia means that everything is right that all things are in order and that no one needs to worry. … I respectfully and humbly ask you to join me in bringing maluhia to that community that seeks justice. I ask you to expand the meaning of aloha to truly include everyone.”