Off The Beat: As History Is Made, Hawaii Studies Gay Marriage
Minnesota poised to became 12th state to recognize marriage equality. Here at home, we're forming a task force.
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On Thursday, the Minnesota House passed a measure to legalize same-sex marriage.
The Minnesota Senate will take the bill up Monday, and it’s projected to pass. The state’s governor has already said he’ll sign the historic legislation into law.
That would make the Gopher State the 12th state to give gays and lesbians the same fundamental civil right as straight people, either through legislation, the courts or the ballot. Illinois — the Prairie State, Land of Lincoln — could be the next.
As the nation moves toward marriage equality regardless of sexual orientation, lawmakers in Hawaii — the Aloha State, Land of Inouye — have elected to study the issue.
That’s right: study how the social, economic and religious impact of marriage equality. Through a task force.
The vote for the task force “reso,” was not unanimous, with most Republicans voting “no.” Quite a few members of both parties also proposed bills this year to reserve marriage “to relationships between one man and one woman.”
Meanwhile, the world turns.
The vote in Minnesota followed shortly after Rhode Island and Delaware became the 10th and 11th states to allow marriage equality.
“We are living in times of historic change,” said Jane Wishon, Marriage Equality USA board member, in a press release heralding Delaware’s action. Wishon added, “the entire nation is now watching” to see which state will be next.
In April, Uruguay, New Zealand and France became the 12th, 13th and 14th countries to allow gay marriage.
New Zealand is the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage, while Uruguay is the second country in Latin America and the third in all the Americas. Argentina and Canada have approved gay marriage, and it is allowed in Mexico City and parts of Brazil.
Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court will issue its rulings on challenges to Proposition 8 in California and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The outcome could be on par with landmark high court decisions to desegregate schools and strike down anti-miscegenation and sodomy laws.
Even if the Supremes go in a different direction, the issue of gay civil rights is not going away.
Hawaii was once at the forefront of this movement. Exactly 20 years ago our own high court determined that denying same-sex couples the right to marry may be unlawful sex discrimination under the state constitution.
Today, the world is leaving us behind.
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