Bill signing puts marriage equality over the rainbow

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Nov 13 2013 06:24:00 PM HST

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the same sex marriage bill into law on Wednesday.

HONOLULU -

Three weeks of high political drama came down to this.

“Allow me to sign with this koa pen and sign fully and completely you will all approve that I intend to give this pen to Judge Levinson. Done!” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said emphatically as he signed Senate Bill 1 into law.

"People criticize the timing, but it is never the wrong time to do the right thing," said Rep. Chris Lee.

This would be a time of tears and cheers.

Full of hope, and sharing a story of a lesbian couple trying to enroll their child in school -- rejected by one, then accepted by another.

"She said, I told the lady upfront we are a two-mommy family and the lady at Sacred Hearts said, 'Your daughter is welcomed here," said Sen. Clayton Hee.

With the formal signing, marriage equality is Hawaii law and now on the books.

One of three couples who initially sued for those rights more than 20 years ago was overcome with joy.

"This is a huge accomplishment for me personally and I that this will make this a better place for everyone to live in.  I believe that," said a teary-eyed Genora Dancel.

 Dancel's former partner Ninia Behr couldn’t be here, but Behr’s niece was proud to represent her.

"I am very thrilled as I have recently become a member of the gay community as well, to know my family in a small way, pioneered the way for others," said Halie Behr-Gutierrez. 

And for a young girl born to a two-mommy family, it may have been the greatest 14th birthday present ever.

“It means a lot to me and my family, and not just our families, but for families like ours,” said Shylar Young.

Families no longer invisible, no longer outsiders, now part of a movement marching forward.

"We were married in Massachusetts in 2009.  Today, we really feel we are part of the country," said Tambry Young.

And the lawyers who helped fight the tide were no less proud of what was accomplished today.

"I was co-counsel on the case that launched this global movement with Dan Foley, so it's very sweet to be here.  Now, we have to bring the aloha and justice that we saw today in Hawaii to the entire United States," said Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry. 

"It is an amazing day. We had hoped this day would come sooner than 16 years later but it's finally here, and we are grateful for all the work of people who made it a reality," said former Sen. Matt Matsunaga.

 Tim Earhart, who has been ministering to gays for more than 40 years in Hawaii could hardly believe this day has come.

"This is one of the most important days of my life. I am just elated, just elated. I am so-o happy!" said Earhart.

You might say, he and others are simply over the rainbow.

PHOTOS: Special session on same-sex marriage

Click here to see photos from the special session on same-sex marriage.

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