Joint House Committee Has Votes to Pass Hawaii Gay Marriage Bill

The Finance and Judiciary committees hearing the gay marriage bill today have more than enough votes needed to advance the measure to the full House, according to a Civil Beat tally based on interviews with lawmakers.

The 30-member joint committee has at least 20 “yes” votes. Eight reps are expected to vote “no” and two are either undecided or have reservations.

The committees vote independently though. There are 13 members on the Judiciary Committee, of which at least eight are expected to vote “yes.” The Finance Committee has 17 members, of which at least 11 are expected to vote in favor.

The Finance and Judiciary committees, chaired by Reps. Sylvia Luke and Karl Rhoads, respectively, started hearing testimony on Senate Bill 1 at 10 this morning. 

More than 4,000 people have now signed up to testify on the bill, which means the hearing will likely be cut off at midnight and resume sometime Friday. (Read Civil Beat’s coverage of the Senate’s all-day session Monday here.)

The first couple hours of today’s hearing has focused on the public accommodations law and religious exemptions

Mostly Republican lawmakers grilled Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s deputy chief of staff, Blake Oshiro, to start the day. Now a broad range of reps are asking the second person to testify, Attorney General David Louie, for his legal expertise on the proposed gay marriage law.

Civil Beat will be following the hearing throughout the day — and into the night. So check back anytime or follow us on Twitter for updates.

A Civil Beat survey of all 51 House reps in September found 27 in favor of same-sex marriage legislation, 16 opposed and the rest with reservations. We’re told the number in favor has since grown to the low 30s, but as the old saying goes, “It’s not over till it’s over.”

Here’s the list of House reps serving on the Judiciary and Finance committees today, and how they are likely to vote on SB 1:

Dee Morikawa: Yes

Mark Hashem: Yes

Ty Cullen: No

James Tokioka: No

Kyle Yamashita: Yes

Aaron Johanson: No

Scott Nishimoto: Yes

Sylvia Luke: Yes

Karl Rhoads: Yes

Sharon Har: No

Della Au Belatti: Yes

Clift Tsuji: Reservations

Cynthia Thielen: Yes

Jessica Wooley: Yes

Tom Brower: Yes

Beth Fukumoto: No

Gene Ward: No

Justin Woodson: Yes

Bert Kobayashi: Yes

Kaniela Ing: Yes

Richard Onishi: Yes

Nicole Lowen: Yes

Gregg Takayama: Yes

Jo Jordan: Undecided

Derek Kawakami: Yes

Chris Lee: Yes

Mele Carroll: Yes

Dennis Coffman: Yes

Ken Ito: No

Bob McDermott: No

Nathan Eagle


Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s deputy chief of staff, Blake Oshiro, testifies before the House Finance and Judiciary committees on Senate Bill 1, Oct. 31, 2013, in the Capitol auditorium. (Nathan Eagle/Honolulu Civil Beat)

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