Hawaii’s legislature gave final passage to a measure Tuesday to make it the 16th American state to legalize same-sex marriage.
“With today’s vote, Hawaii joins a growing number of states that recognize that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be treated fairly and equally under the law,” President Obama, a native Hawaiian, said in a statement.
Illinois is poised to become the 15th state when its governor signs a same-sex marriage bill given final passage by its General Assembly last week. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has said he would “put our state on the right side of history” by signing it November 20.
Hawaii’s Gov. Neil Abercrombie will sign the legislation Wednesday morning. The law is set to take effect on June 1, 2014.
“Whenever freedom and equality are affirmed, our country becomes stronger,” Obama said. “By giving loving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry if they choose, Hawaii exemplifies the values we hold dear as a nation. I’ve always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today’s vote makes me even prouder. And Michelle and I extend our best wishes to all those in Hawaii whose families will now be given the security and respect they deserve.”
In addition to Hawaii and Illinois, same-sex marriage is legal in 14 states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington — as well as the District of Columbia. Colorado and Hawaii allow civil unions.
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