Obama Urges Hawaii to Pass Marriage Equality

The president has lent his voice in support of Hawaii's Marriage Equality Act, which is being considered by the state's legislature.

BY Daniel Reynolds

November 01 2013 12:37 PM ET

President Barack Obama is advocating for marriage equality in Hawaii.

A White House spokesperson released a statement that elucidated the president’s opinions of the passing of same-sex marriage in his home state. It revealed he would “welcome a decision by the state Legislature to treat all Hawaii couples equally."

"While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect," Shin Inouye, a White House representative, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. "As he has said, his personal view is that it's wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so.”

The Hawaii State Senate approved Senate Bill 1, the Marriage Equality Act, Wednesday, and the House passed the bill on its first reading. If the bill passes the House Judiciary, as it's expected to, it will go back to the House for a full floor vote, where supporters anticipate a close vote. If the bill passes, it will go to supportive Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature, and same-sex weddings could begin on the islands November 18. 

President Obama, who was born in the state’s capital Honolulu, has endorsed similar initiatives for same-sex marriage in Illinois, Maine, Maryland, and Washington. His administation also filed an amicus brief earlier this year, which urged the Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8.

"First, preserving a tradition of limiting marriage to heterosexuals is not itself a sufficiently important interest to justify Proposition 8," reads the brief. "Second, protecting children from being taught about same-sex marriage is not a permissible interest insofar as it rests on a moral judgment about gay and lesbian people or their intimate relationships."

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