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Hawaii legislative panel decides not to hear same-sex marriage bill

HONOLULU — The state House Judiciary Committee has decided not to schedule a hearing for a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii, likely leaving the measure tabled for this legislative session.

State Rep. Karl Rhoads, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said that after polling his colleagues he determined there was not the political will for a gay-marriage bill this session, reported the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

About 150 supporters of marriage equality gathered at the state Capitol on Monday to call on legislators to take up a bill before it was too late.

Thursday is the deadline for lawmakers to take action on the measure.

Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) has said he supports marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and has called on legislators to hold hearings on the measure.

A state-wide poll released last month showed growing support in Hawaii for allowing same-sex couples to marry.

According to the survey, 55 percent of voters said they support legalizing same-sex marriage, including 39 percent of voters who “strongly” favor it. Only 36 percent of voters said they opposed legalizing same-sex marriage.

In 2011, Hawaii legalized civil unions for same-sex couples; that law took effect January 1, 2012.

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