Monday, December 02, 2013

Same-Sex Marriages Begin In Hawaii, Becoming 15th Marriage Equality State

And then there were 15! Hawaii is now the 15th state in the United States where all resident couples who want to get married will be issued marriage licenses.

The Honolulu Star-Tribune reports:
Hawaii's marriage laws allow couples to register for a license and be married the same day, a process conducive for tourists only in the state a short time.
Couples can sign up for a license online then be verified by any license agent throughout the state. Agents have set up shop throughout the islands, from resorts on Maui and the Big Island to hard-to-reach places on Kauai.
Saralyn and Isajah Morales began filling out license applications a few minutes after midnight along with other couples. Several license agents huddled around four laptops in a tiny conference room, refreshing their web browsers to coax a state-run website to load. A few feet away, wedding guests sipped champagne, dined on curried shrimp and portabella mushroom sliders, listened to piano music and took pictures with each of seven cakes on display for the occasion.
Hawaii is often credited with starting the national gay marriage discussion, when couples applying for a marriage license led to a court fight that eventually helped prompt Congress to pass the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. Part of the law was struck down earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court.
I have been involved in the fight for marriage equality since the early 1990s when we thought Hawaii would be the first state where gay couples would be able to get married. That state turned out to be Massachusetts, in 2004.

Amazingly, just in 2013 the following states have enacted marriage equality: Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, Minnesota, California and New Jersey. Illinois has already enacted marriage equality, but same-sex couples will not be able to get married until July 1. The next states that are expected to be marriage quality states are New Mexico and Oregon, probably sometime later in 2014.

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