Senate Sends 'Marriage Equality' Bill to Hawaii Governor

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Sometimes history is anti-climatic, yet no less historic.

That was the case Tuesday when Hawaii's Senate passed a highly controversial gay marriage bill, sending it on to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his expected signature as soon as Wednesday.

Unlike the raucous crowds, passionate testimony and heated floor debate on both sides of Senate Bill 1 over the past two weeks, it was a far more subdued atmosphere at the state Capitol. And for the first time, supporters heavily outnumbered opponents, the latter group likely resigned to concede the inevitable.

The legislation makes Hawaii either the 15th or 16th state to legalize same-sex marriage, depending on whether Abercrombie signs the bill before Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn does; that state's legislature approved a similar bill last week.

"I would contend that we are simply serving the role history has afforded us — serving as the bridge between the somewhat divided public sentiment of today and where we aspire to be as a society and a people tomorrow," Sen. Jill Tokuda said in her floor speech before the final vote.

"And so I look forward to that day, and I hope it isn't too far into the future, when the way we think meets up with the way we live — like it did with our views on slavery, school segregation and inter-racial marriage."

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