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Hawaii House passes gay marriage, back to Senate

BY OSKAR GARCIA
ASSOCIATED PRESS

HONOLULU -- The Hawaii House of Representatives passed a special session bill on Friday night legalizing gay marriage, setting up a final approval by the state Senate before it's sent to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature.

House lawmakers approved the bill after a grueling 12-hour session with breaks, capping more than a week of public testimony and debate that drew passionate crowds both for and against gay marriage.

The measure to allow same-sex couples to wed starting Dec. 2 passed 30-19 with two lawmakers excused. But the drama that unfolded in the hours leading up to the vote included a gay lawmaker voting against the bill, another citing rapper Macklemore in his argument and an opponent to gay marriage promising a second lawsuit to challenge the would-be law.

"If the House can survive this, it can survive anything," House Majority Leader Scott Saiki said after a bruising session that included plenty of verbal sparring, questioning of rules and outbursts from members of the public gathered in the galley.

And it's not quite over yet — the bill needs renewed approval from the Senate because of changes made by two House committees. The Senate passed an earlier version last week.

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