From our Capitol Watch blog:

A coalition of civil rights organizations on Friday (Jan. 25) welcomed the introduction of an initiative to legalize marriage for same-sex couples in Hawaii.

Hawaii United for Marriage says the introduction of Senate Bill 1369 is in the “spirit of President Barack Obama’s inaugural message echoing the words of our Founding Fathers.”

The bill would recognize marriages between same-sex couples and extend “the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage that opposite-sex couples receive.”

Marriage licenses would be permitted beginning Dec. 2, 2013, but solemnization ceremonies would not be allowed until Jan. 1, 2014.

“The freedom to choose the person with whom we commit to share our life is a basic human right,” said Hawaii United for Marriage partner Lois Perrin, Legal Director of the ACLU of Hawaii. “Marriage protects and provides for families with security and benefits defined by law in ways that civil unions do not. Hawaii must stand with our President and recognize that now is the time to treat all our families with the respect, dignity, and equality.”

Photo courtesy joseanavas.…

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