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Hawaiian legislature expected to have enough votes to pass gay marriage bill

Thousands sign up to speak during first day of special session

As a special legislative session kicked off in Hawaii on Monday (28 October), there is expected to be enough votes for a marriage equality bill to pass both the House and Senate.

The bill is expected to easily pass the Senate by a margin of 21-4. It needs 26 votes to pass in the House. Hawaii News Now surveyed House members and reports that 27 of them plan to vote in favor of marriage equality while seven are still undecided.

Representative Mark Takai is among those who say his position has changed in recent months.

'I think it's only fair to provide the same benefits and the opportunities that other states have provided and that the federal government is providing currently,' Takai tells Hawaii News Now.

'I think it's time for the laws of the state of Hawaii to reflect the aloha spirit.'

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie has made clear he want to wants to move forward on gay marriage when he called the special session of the state's legislature last month.

He said then: 'Every variation on a view with regard to the issue of marriage and equitable treatment for those engaged in marriage has been aired, has been analyzed, has been discussed. No one has been left out or has been marginalized in the process to this point.'

Hawaii already allows same-sex civil unions and Abercrombie is confident there is enough support in both houses of the legislature for passage. The governor believes the bill's religious exemptions greatly improves its chances.

Meanwhile, marriage equality advocates and opponents showed up at the state capitol in Honolulu Monday to demonstrate and to speak during the public comments portion of the session.

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