Hearing on Resolution to Study Marriage in Hawaii
March 22, 2013 by Tony Wagner, Western Regional Field Director
This coming Monday at 10:30 a.m. in conference room 016, the Hawaii Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor will hear testimony on SR 123 and SCR 166, resolutions introduced in the Senate by Committee Chair Clayton Hee. The resolutions call for the establishment of a task force to study the effects of same-sex marriage on a variety of areas including:
- Determine whether civil unions are sufficient to provide the rights, benefits, and dignity necessary to ensure strong, healthy families in Hawaii.
- Examine the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases for same-sex couples in Hawaii.
- Examine the economic impact of passing or failing to pass marriage for same-sex couples in Hawaii.
- Study the impact in other jurisdictions of the effects of same-sex marriage in those locations, and whether or not Hawaii should follow suit and/or make improvements to the laws in those locations.
The task force would be made up of individuals from businesses, faith, legal, scholarly and community organizations and would also appoint the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate to the entity. The deadline for reporting back on the findings of the task force would be November 1, 2013.
If you’d like to submit written testimony or attend the hearing in person, you may find the information for doing so here http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2013/hearingnotices/HEARING_JDL_03-25-13_.HTM or by emailing [email protected]
If you intend to submit written testimony, here is the proper format and sample testimony to be able to do so:
Committee: Committee on Judiciary and Labor
Hearing Date/Time: March 25, 2013, 10:30 am
Place: Conference Room 016
Re: Testimony of [NAME] in Support of S.C.R. 166 and S.R.123
Dear Chair Hee and Members of the Committee on Judiciary and Labor:
My name is [NAME] and I am writing in support of S.C.R. 166 and S.R. 123, which seek to convene a task force to study the social, economic and religious impacts of enacting marriage equality in Hawaii.
Over the past twenty years, Hawaii – and the entire nation – has seen a shift in public attitudes towards support for our gay and lesbian friends and family members. Many Hawaii residents support marriage equality. Our entire Congressional Delegation supports marriage equality. Our Governor supports marriage equality. And the President of the United States announced his support for marriage equality before being elected to a second term.
The requested task force represents a diverse group of interests and legal scholars, and requires them to study the effects of enacting marriage equality in Hawaii. The task force is quite timely given the anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decisions in United States v. Windsor (regarding the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)), and Hollingsworth v. Perry (regarding the constitutionality of California's ballot initiative banning same-sex marriages known as Proposition 8). It is in the best interest of all residents of Hawaii for the legislature to be prepared to address the legal realities for same-sex couples here after the U.S. Supreme Court issues its rulings.
We believe that the information from the task force will provide the background information needed to educate the Legislature on marriage equality.