Hawaii to become next front for gay marriage
HONOLULU — The island state that helped make gay marriage a national discussion could be the next state to legalize it after more than two decades.
Many credit a Hawaii case that started in 1990 with prompting action in courts, statehouses and Congress, leading to the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 that was eventually struck down this year by the Supreme Court.
A special session starting on Monday could make Hawaii the newest state to formally legalize gay marriage, a move proponents say would finish the job and exemplify the state's fabled aloha spirit — while granting equality.
Opponents have taken up many fronts. Some argue that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Others say the matter should go to a vote, not be rushed outside the regular legislative calendar.
For Dr. Allan Wang, a 56-year-old Hawaii doctor, the issue is about being treated fairly.
“It's unfair that our amazing relationship — which we've been together over 33 years — our amazing relationship cannot be acknowledged,” Wang said, sitting next to his partner, Tom Humphreys, a molecular biology professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Wang and Humphreys, 77, married in California in July, a month after entering a civil union in Hawaii and after decades of pressing for gay marriage in the state. Humphreys said they were forced to marry outside Hawaii when he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and told that he had a short time to live.