There appears to be dueling bills in the State Legislature this session. A coalition of civil rights organizations announced Friday a Hawaii initiative to legalize same-sex marriage.
"We the people declare today that the most evident of truth that all of us are created equal -- is the star that guides us still."
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well."
Hawaii United for Marriage partner Lois Perrin, Legal Director of the ACLU of Hawaii, said Hawaii led the nation in supporting rights for same-sex couples with the 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court ruling striking down a ban on same-sex marriages.
"The freedom to choose the person with whom we commit to share our life is a basic human right," said Perrin. "Marriage protects and provides for families with security and benefits defined by law in ways that civil unions do not. Hawaii must stand with our President and recognize that now is the time to treat all our families with the respect, dignity, and equality."
The Hawaii same-sex marriage bill does not change how marriage is defined by various religions, and it specifically protects the rights of clergy, churches and religious organizations that do not perform or recognize marriages for same-sex couples.
A bipartisan group of 15 Hawaii representatives is advocating for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
If passed, the amendment would be placed on the ballot during the November 2014 election.
Sen. Mike Gabbard, a Democrat, is proposing a similar bill in the Senate.