Bill legalizing same-sex marriages in Hawaii signed into law - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Hawaii becomes 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Amidst a celebration of supporters at the Honolulu Convention Center, Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday signed into law a bill legalizing same-sex marriages in the state of Hawai'i.   With his signature on Senate Bill 1, House Draft 1, the "Hawai'i Marriage Equality Act of 2013," Hawai'i has become the 15th state to legally recognize same-sex marriages.

 "Today is a great day in Hawai'i nei," announced state Attorney General David Louie, who served as the event's emcee, and described the day as a celebration "for all".

The festivities started with a traditional Native Hawaiian ‘oli welcoming all the invited guests – over 200 of whom gathered to witness Governor Abercrombie sign the landmark legislation.

Audience members were delighted when Amy Hanaiali'i and Willie K reunited for the first time in ten years to sing a mash-up rendition of "Imagine" by John Lennon and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".   Their performance was answered with calls of "Hana hou" from the crowd, but Louie kept the schedule on track.

"They say that justice delayed is justice denied and for almost 20 years justice has been delayed and denied for our gay brothers and sisters who wanted to get married, but no longer," Louie said, before introducing Senator Clayton Hee.

Senator Hee, who serves at the Senate's Judiciary committee Chair, stepped up to the podium joking about how he might have to use his tie to wipe away tears.  He was forced to stop for a moment, overcome with emotion and audience members filled the brief void with applause.

"Someday, as the song ‘Imagine' depicted and says to us, this world will accept all of us for who we are and I'm pleased to play a very small role with my colleagues in the Senate," Sen. Hee said.

"I could never have imagined that I would play a role in such a profound, yet in my mind a really simple thing to do – bring justice and equality to all of us," said Hee, before hugging Governor Abercrombie and returning to his seat.

Representative Chris Lee, who was invited to speak on behalf of the Hawai'i House of Representatives and who has been a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage from the beginning, then stepped up to the microphone.

"We all deserve the same aloha. People criticize the timing but it is never the wrong time to do the right thing," Rep. Lee said as the crowd cheered.

"Out of this debate there are no winners or losers, but there is benefit to us all because through this difficult time we have grown to understand one another better and put ourselves in the shoes of others, and I think that's what brings our community together because at the end we are one ‘ohana.  We are one family and if we're going to overcome our greater challenges down the road we're going to need to join hands and come together," Lee said, describing the hope many have expressed about the need to heal after such a divisive issue.

Governor Abercrombie began his remarks by introducing his wife and thanking her for her support.

"It never, ever occurred to me that I would one day have both the opportunity and the responsibility to do something that is profound, is as profound in the change that is to come," said Gov. Abercrombie, likening this moment to that of Patsy Mink and Title 9 changing "the universe for women for all time".

The Governor says in preparing his remarks for today, he reflected on the word aloha and the aloha spirit – which are both mentioned in Hawai'i's Constitution.  He went on to read the First Amendment of the United States Constitution saying, "I submit to you that SB 1 is the epitome of the First Amendment in action."

Gov. Abercrombie thanked Hawai'i's Senators and Representatives for their "patient perseverance", saying he felt the Legislature coordinated civic responsibility with the religious beliefs of others.

"I just read the First Amendment to the Constitution.  We couldn't even pass the Constitution originally without putting ten amendments in, so it does not strike me as strange that we may not have a perfect vehicle here today, but we understand that this is in fact the result of the legislative process which had as its fundamental premise, fidelity to support for upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States and of the state of Hawai'i," Gov. Abercrombie said.

Governor Abercrombie then went on to describe the legacy of aloha left by Hawai'i's Queen Lili'uokalani.

"If we could but see our likenesses, could we not learn to be tolerant of our differences?  That's the Queen's admonition to us.  I think that SB 1 satisfies the Queen's desire – that we look to see our likenesses with one another and not our differences," the Governor said.

In closing, the Governor read a few words given to him by a woman he described as a dear family friend, who "has had to be hidden for all of her life in her heart, feeling that she was marginalized and shut away".

"I have spent my entire life waiting for equality to be visible in the world I live in to be a part of the whole of this courageous, colorful, inspirational, endlessly talented, brilliant like a star community," said Gov. Abercrombie reading from the woman's note to him.  His voice cracked as he looked up and said, "Finally today, now – all those who have been invisible will be visible to themselves and the whole world."

With that he picked up the koa pen he has promised to give to retired Justice Steven Levinson, who in 1993 wrote the landmark Baehr v. Lewin decision that denying same-sex couples marriage licenses was a violation of equal protection.  

"Done!" the Governor exclaimed after scrawling out his signature as the crowd erupted in applause.

The first day same sex couples can get married in Hawaii is December 2, 2013

Tune in to Hawaii News Now tonight for reaction from lawmakers and supporters following the signing of the bill.

Follow Mileka Lincoln:    

Copyright 2013 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved. 

  • Latest news from NBC12.comNEWSMore>>

  • Bicyclist identified in deadly Richmond crash

    Bicyclist identified in deadly Richmond crash

    Saturday, April 29 2017 4:31 PM EDT2017-04-29 20:31:14 GMT

    Police say a man has died, after being struck by a car, while he was riding a bicycle in Richmond's southside. It happened just after 10:30 p.m. Friday in the 1600 block of Hopkins Road. Officers say when they arrived at the scene, the bicyclist was already dead. We're still working to learn if the driver is facing any charges. Stay with NBC 12 for updates. Copyright 2017 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved Report an Error or Submit a Tip to NBC12

    More >>

    Police say a man has died, after being struck by a car, while he was riding a bicycle in Richmond's southside. It happened just after 10:30 p.m. Friday in the 1600 block of Hopkins Road. Officers say when they arrived at the scene, the bicyclist was already dead. We're still working to learn if the driver is facing any charges. Stay with NBC 12 for updates. Copyright 2017 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved Report an Error or Submit a Tip to NBC12

    More >>
  • BREAKING

    Bicyclist identified in deadly Richmond crash

    Bicyclist identified in deadly Richmond crash

    Saturday, April 29 2017 4:26 PM EDT2017-04-29 20:26:29 GMT
  • Congress settles for stopgap to avoid government shutdown

    Congress settles for stopgap to avoid government shutdown

    Saturday, April 29 2017 3:29 PM EDT2017-04-29 19:29:40 GMT
    Saturday, April 29 2017 3:29 PM EDT2017-04-29 19:29:40 GMT

    President Donald Trump seems destined to serve his 100th day in office without House passage of a Republican health care bill or enactment of a budget financing the government for the rest of this year.

    More >>

    President Donald Trump seems destined to serve his 100th day in office without House passage of a Republican health care bill or enactment of a budget financing the government for the rest of this year.

    More >>
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

    Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

        One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction.  She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>

    One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction. She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>
  • 'I got 2 clips!' Impatient mom pulls out gun, threatens barber cutting son's hair

    'I got 2 clips!' Impatient mom pulls out gun, threatens barber cutting son's hair

    Friday, April 28 2017 5:45 PM EDT2017-04-28 21:45:21 GMT
    (Source: Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County Facebook)(Source: Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County Facebook)

    Police are looking for a woman who pointed a gun at a barber all because her son's haircut was taking too long.

    More >>

    Police are looking for a woman who pointed a gun at a barber all because her son's haircut was taking too long.

    More >>
  • 'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    Thursday, April 27 2017 12:17 AM EDT2017-04-27 04:17:43 GMT
    Friday, April 28 2017 11:32 PM EDT2017-04-29 03:32:02 GMT
    Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children.

    More >>

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly