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LGBT Noise March for Marriage. Participants in the 5th annual LGBT Noise March for Marriage march through Dublin city centre to the Department of Justice, Stephen's Green. Picture date: Sunday August 18, 2013. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire URN:17350757

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) on Monday called a special legislative session for next month aimed at passing a bill to legalize gay marriage in the state.

"The decision to call a special session is based on doing what is right to create equity for all in Hawaii," Abercrombie said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters. He added that the special session would allow the legislature to "focus squarely" on the issue without being distracted by other legislation.

The special session would convene both houses of the state legislature on October 28, according to Reuters. - TPM, 9/10/13

Here's a little more background info:

Democrats have overwhelming majorities in both the state House and Senate, but some Democratic legislators weren’t on board with a same-sex marriage bill. Party leaders met in late August to count the votes; Abercrombie said he would call a special session if legislators could agree on language that would withstand a court challenge.

“The merits of holding a special session include the opportunity for the Legislature to focus squarely on this important issue, without having to divert attention to the hundreds of other bills introduced during a regular session,” Abercrombie said in a statement.

Hawaii was one of the first states to put a ban on same-sex marriages in its constitution, back in 1998. But in 2011, the legislature legalized civil unions for same-sex couples. Now, with Democrats controlling 44 of 51 state House seats and all but one of the 25 seats in the state Senate, the state is likely headed for a full reversal. - Washington Post, 9/10/13

And it sounds like the votes are there to pass a marriage equality bill:

Civil Beat called all 51 House representatives this week and spoke to a variety of other people in the political sphere. Based on interviews with a number of lawmakers, some of whom were granted anonymity so they could comment on sensitive deliberations, the tally in favor of same-sex marriage legislation was 27 in favor, 16 opposed.

Twenty-six votes are required for passage, and some of the eight other legislators who said they have “reservations” are ultimately likely to back it.1

Some lawmakers might evolve in one direction or the other, but if the governor calls for a special session, it appears that the votes will be there and Hawaii will legalize marriage equality.

A number of legislators said they expect the final vote to end up higher — possibly in the mid-30s, a safe margin — when several undecided members decide to back a winner.

Attention has focused on the House because there is little question in the Senate, where there is a strong 20-5 majority and a desire to pass a bill sooner rather than later. (The "no" votes are Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, Mike Gabbard, Ron Kouchi, Donovan Dela Cruz and Sam Slom, the chamber’s lone Republican.) - Honolulu Civil Beat, 9/6/13

Thank you Governor Abercrombie for making this a priority.  If you live in Hawaii, please contact your state legislature and tell them you support marriage equality:

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:03 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality, LGBT Kos Community, Milk Men And Women, and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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