Hawaii Governor Signs Marriage Equality into Law

The 50th State becomes the 15th to extend marriage rights to all

Governor Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii signed legislation today that makes Hawaii the 15th state to legalize marriage equality for all couples. Abercrombie also signed the state’s civil union law in 2011.

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin noted that the momentum toward LGBT marriage equality in the U.S. has been “unprecedented.” “Before this year, marriage was the law of the land in eight states. By the end of this year, that number will have doubled to sixteen,” he said in a statement.

In Hawaii, the marriage equality bill was sponsored by state Sen. Brickwood Galuteria in the Senate and under the leadership of Senate Judiciary Chair Clayton Hee, House Speaker Joseph Souki, House Judiciary Chair Karl Rhoads, House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke, Representative Chris Lee, Representative Della au Bellati, and Republican Representative Cynthia Thielen.  Hawaii’s marriage equality legislation first passed the state Senate 20-4 on October 31, and the state House 30-19 on Friday, November 8.  The state Senate yesterday passed the House-amended version 19 to 4. Hawaii’s marriage equality law will go into effect on December 2, 2013.

The passage of marriage equality in Hawaii comes seven days after the Illinois state legislature passed its marriage equality legislation. That law will go into effect on June 1, 2014.

According to CBS News, a researcher at the University of Hawaii predicts the law could boost tourism revenues—the top economic driver in the state— by $217 million over the next three years.

President Barack Obama also praised the new law. “I’ve always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today’s vote makes me even prouder,” he said in a statement.

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