Same-Sex Marriage Now Up to Hawaii House

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

The tide of history flowed smoothly through the Hawaii Senate chamber Wednesday, where same-sex marriage legislation passed 20-4.

Democrats Donna Mercado Kim, Ron Kouchi and Mike Gabbard voted "no," as did lone Republican Sam Slom. Democrat Glenn Wakai was excused because of a death in the family.

Senate Bill 1 now heads to the House of Representatives, where the gay-marriage wave is sure to encounter rougher waters.

Unlike the Senate, the vote in the House is expected to be close. Democrats and Republicans have been fighting in public over committee memberships and struggling to maintain a coalition that elected Joe Souki speaker.

At times, the House chamber came close to resembling one of those brawls in Taiwan's legislature. By contrast, the debate over SB 1 was pretty much a "Kumbaya" moment in the Senate, which like the House is controlled by Democrats.

Before the vote, Sen. Clayton Hee, who has guided the passage of SB 1 through his chamber, said the Legislature should expand the meaning of the word "aloha" to include include everyone "regardless of sexual orientation."

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