Hawaii became the fifteenth state to legalize same-sex marriage yesterday after Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a marriage equality bill into law.
The bill “recognizes marriages between individuals of the same sex and extends to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage that opposite-sex couples receive,” according to a press release from Governor Abercrombie. It will also allow the civil unions previously afforded to same sex couples to be “converted” to marriages through an online procedure.
“We have moved into a new era of Aloha for same-sex couples, who can now share in the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Attorney General David Louie.
The Hawaii Senate had previously passed a different bill, but the current one contains two amendments delaying the bill’s effective date to December 2 and broadened religious exemptions. The House passed it last Friday by a 30-19 margin, and the Senate passed it Tuesday night 19-4.
The Hawaiian victory comes on the heels of several others, including a bill passed by the Illinois state legislature last week (which Governor Pat Quinn has committed to signing), and the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decisionin October to allow same-sex marriage.
Media Resources: Governor of the State of Hawai’i Press Release 11/13/13; Advocate 11/12/13; Business Insider 11/12/13; The Washington Post 11/5/13; Feminist Newswire 10/21/13