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Marriage-equality talks heat up in Hawaii

HONOLULU – Same-gender marriage is back on the agenda in Hawaii, where the entire congressional delegation and faith leaders have come out in favor of the freedom to marry.

U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz and U.S. Representatives Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard issued statements supporting marriage equality, all urging Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat who also wants same-gender marriage, and the state legislature to pass a law to approve same-gender marriage.

More than two dozen faith leaders in Hawaii signed a resolution on Monday calling for marriage equality. The faith leaders represented Jewish, Methodist, Unitarian and other religious groups.

Gov. Abercrombie told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Tuesday that he would consider calling a special session of the legislature, which is not scheduled to return to work until January. Abercrombie said his administration needs time to craft legislation that would survive any legal challenge.

Hawaii allows civil unions and has attempted to pass marriage-equality bills for years, but in 1998 voters approved Hawaii Constitutional Amendment 2 to ban gay marriage.

In the United States, same-gender marriage is legal in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington -- and in Washington, D.C. It also is legal within the Coquille Indian tribe in Oregon, the Suquamish Indian tribe in Washington state and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan.