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Tuesday, November 5, 2013
How They Voted: House Committees Amend, Pass Gay Marriage Bill
By Andrew Walden @ 11:54 PM :: 5047 Views :: Family, First Amendment

by Andrew Walden

After five days of public hearings the House Finance and Judiciary Committees today voted to amend SB1 and forward it to the full House for consideration.


One amendment, apparently modeled on Connecticut’s religious freedom clauses, removes references to so-called “for-profit” religious activities which were intended to force churches to give up wedding revenue if they did not change their beliefs to conform with the new government-mandated gay religion.  

Another amendment changes SB1 language which would have denied the rights of biological parents thus allowing children controlled by same-sex couples to falsely claim rights to Hawaiian entitlement programs. 

A third amendment moves the effective date of the bill to December 2, 2013.

Rep Sharon Har tells reporters the religious exemptions do not go far enough and could turn Hawaii into "a totalitarian state."  

Rep Bob McDermott proposed to gut and replace the bill with language continuing the traditional definition of the family, but his motion was ruled out of order, preventing the committees from voting on it.  Other proposed amendments protecting conscience rights of small businesses and individuals were likewise denied.

The full House will vote on Second Reading Wednesday November 6, 2013 at 10AM.  Third reading is expected on Friday November 8, 2013.  Because the bill is amended, it must be returned to the Senate for a concurrence vote before heading to Governor Abercrombie who has pledged to sign it.  UPDATE: The Governor's Office released a statement endorsing the amendments to SB1--see text below.

Vote totals are as follows:

11/5/2013 -- The committee on JUD recommends that the measure be PASSED WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes were as follows:

  • 8 Ayes: Representative(s) Rhoads, Belatti, Brower, Coffman, Kawakami, Lee, Wooley, Thielen;
  • Ayes with reservations: none;
  • 5 Noes: Har, Carroll, Ito, Tsuji, McDermott; and
  • None Excused

11/5/2013 -- The committee on FIN recommends that the measure be PASSED WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes were as follows:

  • 10 Ayes: Representative(s) Luke, Nishimoto, Hashem, Ing, Kobayashi, Lowen, Morikawa, Onishi, Takayama, Yamashita;
  • Ayes with reservations: none;
  • 7 Noes: Johanson, Cullen, Jordan, Tokioka, Woodson, Fukumoto, Ward; and
  • None Excused

  *   *   *   *   *

Governor and Attorney General Statement on Amendments to SB 1 – Relating to Equal Rights

News Release from Office of the Governor, November 5, 2013

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and State Attorney General David Louie released the following statement regarding amendments to Senate Bill 1 – Relating to Equal Rights:

“The amendments outlined in House Draft 1 strike a balance between the bill that was introduced by the Legislature and concerns raised in written and oral testimony during public hearings.

“We support the principle that any measure on marriage equity must protect religious freedom, which the Legislature has clearly worked to achieve.

“The bill as amended is legally sound and is in accord with the Hawaii State Constitution.

“We urge the Legislature to pass this bill, which will provide marriage equity and fully recognize religious beliefs in that context.”

  *   *   *   *   *

Details of Amendments to SB1

KHON: The House draft amends the Senate version of SB1 in the following areas:


  • No requirement if in violation of "religious beliefs or faith"
  • Including immunity from administrative, civil and legal liability for failure or refusal to solemnize


  • Applies to "religious organizations" and "nonprofit organizations operated, supervised or controlled by a religious organization"
  • No requirement to provide "goods, services, or its facilities or grounds for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage that is in violation of its religious beliefs or faith"
  • Exemption applies to religious organizations and the nonprofit organizations specified above even if the activity is "for profit"
  • Immunity from administrative, civil and legal liability for failure or refusal

RIGHT OF PARENTS -- Deletes this provision

CIVIL UNIONS -- Conforms the above exemptions to the existing civil unions statue (HRS 572B)

EFFECTIVE DATE -- Changed to December 2, 2013

read ... Religious Freedom

  *   *   *   *   *

Matayoshi: "The DOE does not have marriage as a lesson in its curriculum"



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