HONOLULU, Hawaii – Same sex marriage is now legal in the state of Hawaii, after Governor Neil Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 1 House Draft 1 into law on Wednesday. A private bill signing ceremony – by invitation only – was held at the Hawaii Convention Center and livestreamed by the Office of the Governor.
The final vote on SB1 may have been a mere formality, but the Hawaii State Senate made history on Tuesday, voting to approve a law granting equal rights and benefits to same sex couples in marriage.
The Senate took just a few hours to accept the amendments to SB1 made by the State House and pass the measure with a 19-4 vote on final reading; a quick procedure compared to the all-day debate that Representatives had on Friday.
The Office of the Governor issued a media release when the signing ceremony was over. Abercrombie was quoted:
This is the second time Governor Abercrombie has served as a strong advocate for equal rights. In 2011, the first bill he signed into law as Governor of Hawaii legalized civil unions. Hawaii was the seventh state to grant such privileges to same-sex couples. Then, in June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to same-sex couples who were married under state law. The state says the court’s decision means that same-sex couples who are married in states where it is legal can take advantage of tax breaks, pension rights and other benefits available to married couples.
The new law takes effect on Dec. 2, 2013.