Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is pushing for his state to legalize gay marriage, announcing on Monday that he is convening a special legislative session to pass a bill extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, according to Reuters.
Hawaii is a strongly Democratic state, and already allows same-sex civil unions. If the measure passes, Hawaii would become the 14th state to legalize marriage equality.
The bill has been a long time coming and is a product of sustained debate, Abercrombie told reporters during a Monday news conference.
"Every variation on a view with regard to the issue of marriage and equitable treatment for those engaged in marriage has been aired, has been analyzed, has been discussed," Abercrombie said. "No one has been left out or has been marginalized in the process to this point."
Asked why he chose to call a special session rather than wait and allow the state Legislature to take up the measure next year, Abercrombie explained that the issue was urgent, and that there are "serious, deep and wide-ranging consequences" to the vote, including tax and other federal benefits.
Abercrombie says he is optimistic the bill has enough support to pass: "We're trying to keep from imposing one set of views on each other that would end up with conflict and confrontation," he said. "We think that this bill achieves that delicate balance."
The special session is scheduled to begin Oct. 28.