Same-sex marriage debate heats up in Hawaii: Gov. Abercrombie calls a special session to vote on same-sex marriage

Written by: 
Greg Erickson~Multimedia Journalist

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) has called the state legislature to a special session to vote on legalizing same-sex marriage. The sudden push has led people to believe the state now has the necessary votes to pass a bill. Hawaii’s legislature already legalized civil unions for same-sex couples back in 2011. The Hawaii state legislature will meet on Oct. 28 to review and consider the proposed bill.

In a letter to congregations across the island, leaders of the LDS Church in Hawaii are urging members to “study this legislation prayerfully and then, as private citizens, contact your elected representatives in the Hawaii Legislature to express your views about the legislation.”

The letter continues saying members of the church should seek for “a strong exemption for people and organizations of faith” that protects religious groups “from being required to support or perform same-sex marriages or from having to host same-sex marriages or celebrations in their facilities; and protect individuals and small businesses from being required to assist in promoting or celebrating same-sex marriages.”

Chad Tuttle, a senior in political science from Hawaii, said, “As a Hawaii resident, I don’t like how Gov. Abercrombie is pushing his own values on the rest of us.” Other members of the community feel the same way.

Governor Abercrombie has addressed why he wishes for the special session, stating, “This is now the 20th year of discussion that has taken place on the issue and associated issues with it. I feel very, very strongly that the votes are there to pass this because it is time for marriage equality to take place.”

To view the proposed bill, go to http://governor.hawaii.gov/blog/marriage-equity-2/ to read the latest version of the bill.