- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Hawaii preps for battle over gay-marriage
Governor calls special session
Question of the Day
The push for gay marriage in Hawaii is revving up advocates on both sides as lawmakers prepare for a special session to address the issue next month.
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, on Tuesday asked lawmakers to meet Oct. 28. He recently issued an 18-page draft of a bill that would allow marriage licenses to be issued later this year to same-sex couples.
The move is the latest sign that the primary front in the battle over same-sex marriage has shifted to the states following the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on the question this summer.
Gay rights groups like Equality Hawaii and Hawaii United for Marriage cheered the news of the special session, as passage of the bill could mean gay marriages could start as early as Nov. 18.
But opponents promise a fierce fight.
Catholic Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu sent an urgent appeal to parishioners to speak to lawmakers, while members of Hawaii Family Forum, Hawaii Christian Coalition and Concerned Women for America in Hawaii are rallying their supporters, too.
Barbara Ferraro, the leader of Concerned Women for America in Hawaii, said opponents would do everything they could — including fly to every island with a hearing on the bill — to make sure their voices are heard.
The Hawaii Legislature is overwhelmingly Democratic, and the state Senate is seen as strongly pro-gay marriage.
However, the state House has been more equally divided on the issue and 26 votes are needed from the 51-member chamber.
The national push for gay marriage began in Hawaii in 1990 when three same-sex couples asked county clerks for marriage licenses and were refused. They sued the state for discrimination based on gender. In 1998, Hawaii voters blocked courts from enacting gay marriage by passing an amendment saying only lawmakers could legalize gay marriage.
That battle spread across America, and today, 13 states and the District of Columbia now permit gay marriage, while the high court struck down a law banning the federal government from recognizing gay unions.
Hawaii is now one of four states — with New Jersey, Illinois and Oregon — primed to adopt gay nuptials, according to Freedom to Marry, a prominent advocacy group for gay marriage.
In New Jersey and Illinois, lawmakers are considering action on gay marriage bills this fall. In addition, judges in the two states are expected to issue rulings on gay marriage in the next few weeks.
Traditional-values groups and many religious leaders have steadfastly opposed gay marriage as a politically driven assault on religious freedom and the nation’s Judeo-Christian marriage and family culture. Already, small-business owners in states with gay-marriage laws are seeing their religious freedoms overrun, says Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America.
“Almost weekly, if not daily, we get updates of small businesses that are coming under fire in these states,” said Mrs. Nance, noting that an Oregon bakery owned by a Christian couple was harassed and is now being investigated for declining to bake for a gay ceremony.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- Massachusetts lawmakers OK new abortion clinic buffer law
- Mississippi abortion law can't be enforced
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- Events honoring 20th National Parents' Day reaffirm family
- '50 Shades' movie trailer outrages anti-porn groups
Latest Blog Entries
- Gay therapy ban author seeks Calif. House seat
- Transgender 'bathroom law' gets 5,000 more signatures
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- Houston mayor: Sorry that police put man's blind dog on road to die
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors