East Hawaii News

UPDATE: Testimony Resumes This Morning on Gay-Marriage Bill

November 1, 2013, 5:24 PM HST
* Updated November 5, 9:50 AM
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***Updated at 10:58 a.m. Monday, Nov. 4.***

After a one-day break, state lawmakers are about to resume hearing testimony on legislation that would legalize same-gender marriages in Hawaii.

It’s been very lengthy sessions since the joint hearing of the House committees on Judiciary and Finance first convened their hearing Thursday on Senate Bill 1. By midnight Thursday, more than 5,000 had signed up to present verbal testimony.

The panels met Friday and again on Saturday, and were set to resume testimony today at 11 a.m.

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A House spokesman said speaker No. 4,600 was scheduled to start it off today. After the committees reach the final name on the list, No. 5,184, they will hear from those who previously registered but who missed their opportunity to speak.

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Because it was not known how many who missed their chance earlier to testify will show up, a timetable has not yet been set for the committees to begin deliberations on the bill.

Posted at 5:24 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1:

Members of two state House committees continued to hear testimony today on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriages in Hawaii.

More than 5,000 people signed up Thursday to testify in person on Senate Bill 1.

Thursday’s session proved to be a 12½-hour marathon, with the hearing lasting until after midnight. After making it through the first 1,000 names, a House spokesman estimated the Judiciary and Finance committees heard from about 400 people Thursday.

When the hearing resumed at 8:30 this morning, none of the people whose names made up the next 1,000 showed up, prompting Judiciary Chairman Karl Rhoads to say that anyone who was not present for their allotted time would not be allowed to speak.

Following objections from the gallery and some lawmakers, committee members recessed to discuss the situation. When they returned, Rhoads announced that anyone who missed their turn would be given an opportunity to speak after the end of the list is reached.

The spokesman said 15,000 pieces of written testimony have also been submitted to the committees.

It was not clear this afternoon how long the hearing would run tonight, or when the committees would reconvene to complete the testimony, if necessary, and begin deliberations on the bill.

The current version of Senate Bill 1 was approved by the Senate on Wednesday after the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor heard 12 hours of testimony two days earlier.

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