royal-hawaiian-weddings2The state Senate in Hawaii passed a bill yesterday making it legal for same-sex couples to get married, putting Hawaii just a signature away from being one of the states where a same-sex marriage is legal.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who called lawmakers to a special session for the bill and has vocally supported gay marriage, has said he would sign the measure. It will enable thousands of gay couples in Hawaii and tourists to marry in the state starting Dec. 2.

Even with two senators excused, lawmakers passed the bill 19-4. More than half of the chamber’s lawmakers spoke supporting the bill with many imploring the public to unite and start the healing created by divisions in the community.

“This is nothing more than the expansion of aloha in Hawaii,” said Sen. J. Kalani English, a Democrat from Maui.

When the vote was taken, cheers erupted from inside and outside the gallery with a bit of boos. Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, one of those who opposed the bill, banged her gavel and told members of the public to keep quiet.

But aside from the benefits it can give to same-sex couples in the state, a researcher from the university of Hawaii estimates that the law will boost tourism by $217 million over the next three years as same sex couples from other states will most likely be attracted to bring ceremonies, receptions and honeymoons to the islands.

But even if you couldn’t go to Hawaii for your wedding and honeymoon, you can still enjoy the atmosphere of a gay friendly resort such as the Cabanas Guesthouse and Spa in Wilton Manors!

 

This piece is based on an article which originally appeared on SFGN.