Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed the marriage equality bill into law this morning, describing the law as part of Hawaii's "legacy of aloha." At a signing ceremony at the Hawai'i Convention Center's Liliu Theater, the governor told dozens of invited guests and state lawmakers that the marriage equality bill was the "epitome of the First Amendment in action." [...] Abercrombie signed the bill into law today with a koa pen that he plans to give to retired state Supreme Court Justice Steven Levinson, who wrote the 1993 court ruling that held that denying marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples was a violation of equal protection under the state Constitution.
Just three weeks after New Jersey became the latest to embrace marriage equality, Hawai'i today joined the same club.
Abercrombie's bill-signing comes just a day after the state Senate voted 19 to 4 to approve the new state measure. The state House voted 30 to 19 late Friday night.
Same-sex couples can begin getting married, the Star-Advertiser's report added, as soon as Dec. 2. Hawaii will be the 15th state plus the District of Columbia to extend equal-marriage rights to its citizens.
Let's also note that the 16th state is on the way, as well -- the Illinois legislature recently approved marriage-equality legislation, despite Republican opposition. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) is expected to sign the bill next week, clearing the way for same-sex marriages to begin in June.
Conservatives won't want to hear this, but in time, the total number of states will eventually reach 50 -- it's not a question of "if"; it's a question of "when." But for proponents of civil rights, each addition to the list of states is itself another breakthrough, bending the moral arc towards justice just a little more.