Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday called for a special legislative session to move forward on a bill that would legalize gay marriage. If lawmakers pass a bill, Hawaii would join 13 US states and the District of Columbia in allowing gay marriage. The special session is scheduled to begin Oct. 28. Abercrombie said he chose to call a special session rather than allow legislators to consider the issue next year in part because of implications on taxes for this year. "There are serious, deep, and wide-ranging consequences," he said.
The bill—which includes a religious exemption—looks likely to pass in the heavily Democratic state, though the House speaker says support in his 51-member chamber is tight. Hawaii already allows same-sex civil unions. If a bill is passed in time, Hawaii could begin issuing licenses and conducting ceremonies Nov. 18, says the state's AG. Abercrombie noted yesterday that the bill is the culmination of 20 years of discussion: "Every variation on a view with regard to the issue of marriage and equitable treatment for those engaged in marriage has been aired, has been analyzed, has been discussed," Abercrombie said. "No one has been left out."