Senate advances gay marriage bill

HONOLULU — The state Senate advanced a bill to legalize gay marriage during a special session Tuesday, sending it to a final floor vote that would get the legislation to the House.

The final Senate vote is planned during a session that starts Wednesday morning. The bill is expected to pass there easily, then travel to the House where its prospects are less certain.

The Senate’s brief floor session Tuesday was far different than a committee hearing Monday that lasted nearly 12 hours with nearly 4,000 pages of written testimony and about 400 people testifying in person.

The bill passed its second reading with no amendments and no attempts to try to block it from moving forward.

In the House, tensions over gay marriage and a special session became publicly visible when Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican representing Ewa and Ewa Beach, introduced a resolution to dissolve a leadership coalition of majority and minority caucuses. McDermott was unhappy with the special session.

“The leadership coalition between the majority and minority caucuses of the House of Representatives has failed to operate with transparency or to institute a forthright, deliberate process,” McDermott said in the resolution, which was shot down.

“This failure has shortchanged the interests of the public and their representation in legislative matters.”

A joint committee hearing in the House has been scheduled for Thursday if the bill passes the Senate.

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