The state that began the global movement for marriage equality has taken its place alongside other states and countries that allow gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry. Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the marriage equality measure into law during a joyous ceremony attended by hundreds of invitees at the Hawaii Convention Center, and broadcast live across the state.
One of the original plaintiffs, Genora Dancel, attended the signing ceremony. She was joined by Evan Wolfson, who was co-counsel with Dan Foley of the historic Baehr case when they represented Dancel and Ninia Baehr along with two other same sex Hawaii couples who were denied the right to marry.
Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry flew in from New York to attend the signing ceremony. He described the culmination of the special session of the Hawaii Legislature as “especially sweet.”
“It also shows how far we have come. The same legislature that in the 1990’s passed the first of the anti-gay constitutional amendments now voted resoundingly for the freedom to marry,” Wolfson said. “Like the millions of Americans who have evolved to become the national majority for marriage, Hawaii’s leaders opened their hearts and changed their minds, writing this new freedom to marry chapter in America’s history of liberty and justice for all.”
Even though the bill is now law, the work is not done. “There remains a lot of misinformation in our community and we will work to provide as much accurate information as possible about this new law, and showcase the many positives it will bring. We hope that will in turn accelerate the healing process that both sides acknowledge is required to move forward,” said Lois Perrin, ACLU Legal Director.
Hawaii proudly takes its place as the 15th state in the country, along with the District of Columbia, to approve marriage equality.