The state House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass SB1 HD1, relating to equal rights, with amendments on second reading. The measure was approved by a vote of 30 to 18, with three member excused.
SB1 HD1 recognizes marriages between individuals of the same gender. In addition, the measure extends to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage to which opposite-sex couples are presently entitled. The bill also expands a religious exemption.
The House draft includes amendments, modeled after similar language in Connecticut law, significantly broadening exemptions for religious organizations and clergy performing solemnization.
Religious organizations and affiliated nonprofits would be exempted from having to furnish goods, services, or its facilities or grounds for the solemnization or the celebration of solemnizations if it is in violation of its religious beliefs or faith.
It also specifies that clergy and religious officers are not required to solemnize if it is against their religious beliefs or faith. The measure also grants immunity from administrative, civil and legal liability to religious organizations and officials for the failure or refusal to provide services, goods, or facilities as described.
The bill now heads to third reading and a possible final vote before the entire House at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.
More information on the bill is available on the Capitol website at: www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure…