News (USA)

Bills to legalize, prohibit same-sex marriage introduced in Hawaii legislature

HONOLULU — Bills aimed at both legalizing and prohibiting same-sex marriage in Hawaii were introduced Thursday in the state legislature.

Rep. John Mizuno (D-Kalihi) introduced two bills regarding marriage — both propose constitutional amendments, but while one bill legalizes same-sex marriage, the other limits marriage to heterosexual couples.

Mizuno said that he personally supports “traditional” marriage but wants voters to make the decision.

“I’m not afraid to let the people decide,” he said.

A second bill to legalize same-sex marriage was also introduced in the House on Thursday. Rep. Faye Hanohano (D-Puna) is that bill’s sole sponsor.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of 15 Hawaii representatives is advocating for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

State Sen. Mike Gabbard, a Democrat, is proposing a bill in the Senate that would put the issue to voters, and if passed, the amendment would be placed on the ballot during the November 2014 election.

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Gabbard is a former Republican who campaigned against promoting homosexuality in the 1990s. He pushed for a constitutional amendment giving the state Legislature the power to limit marriage to a man and a woman. The amendment passed in 1998.

Gabbard said that a ballot initiative would be the most democratic way to resolve the issue.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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