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BREAKING: Hawaii OK's Marriage Equality

BREAKING: Hawaii OK's Marriage Equality

The state Senate today approved the current version of the legislation, and the governor will sign it tomorrow.

Hawaii legislators gave final approval to a marriage equality bill today, and Gov. Neil Abercrombie will sign it tomorrow.

The state Senate, which earlier passed one version of the bill, today approved a new version that contains amendments added by the state House last week. The amendments delayed the bill’s effective date and slightly broadened its religious exemption, and the House passed the measure Friday by a 30-19 margin. Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said he will sign the legislation as amended.

“We’re on the cusp of becoming one of the states that is going to be recognizing marriage equity,” Blake Oshiro, deputy chief of staff for Abercrombie, told Hawaii News Now before the vote.

The governor will sign the bill Wednesday morning, according to national group Freedom to Marry. He wants the ceremony to be small and not a “spectacle,” so attendance will be limited to about 200 invited guests, reports Hawaii News Now.

“We’re going to make it as broad as possible for all of the key advocates that have been working on this for a long time, but at the same time we are going to be having some security measures to make sure that the event remains consistent with the celebratory mood of what the governor wants,” Oshiro said.

The law is set to go into effect December 2. Civil unions, which Hawaii has offered to same-sex couples since January 1, 2012, can be converted to marriages through an online procedure.

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Trudy Ring