The Hawaii Senate voted Wednesday in a 20-4 vote to approve the bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
Democratic Sen. Clayton Hee said before voting for the bill that the moment is career-defining and lawmakers should embrace it.
Hee says Hawaii should expand its definition of aloha to truly include everyone regardless of sexual orientation.
The House plans to refer the bill later Wednesday to a joint committee hearing on Thursday. The hearing is likely to be jammed with public testimony, with the possibility of being extended to a second day.
The bill's prospects are far less certain in the House, though lawmakers and Gov. Neil Abercrombie have said they believe the measure has enough support to pass.
House Majority Leader Scott Saiki says it's likely the chamber will amend the bill to change religious exemptions. The Senate bill currently exempts ministers and other clergy from having to perform gay wedding ceremonies, but not for-profit businesses.
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