Hawaii House passes gay marriage, back to Senate

By Oskar Garcia

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Nov. 9 2013 12:51 p.m. MST

"It's cooking the books," Ward said as Souki declared an immediate recess and lawmakers scrambled to argue about the rules amid cheers and jeers from the gallery.

If fully passed, same-sex marriages would begin Dec. 2 in the state. The bill in its current form exempts clergy and religious organizations from having to solemnize or provide services for same-sex weddings, going further than an exemption passed by the Senate. After their hearing, the House Judiciary and Finance committees also deleted language from the bill that established guidelines for children of gay couples to claim state benefits for Native Hawaiians.

The Senate can pass the bill with no further changes on the floor, or send the bill to a conference committee, where the chambers would iron out any differences. Senators planned to meet Tuesday to make their next move.

Sen. Clayton Hee, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the primary sponsor of the bill, said in a statement that the Senate is currently reviewing the House amendments.

Oskar Garcia can be reached at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia.

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