A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii cleared a state Senate committee and moved to the full Senate for a vote.
The Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee approved the bill following nearly 12 hours of testimony Monday during which more than 400 people addressed lawmakers, Hawaii News Now reported.
The full Senate is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday. If it passes, it will go to the House, where a joint hearing before the Judiciary and Finance committees is scheduled Thursday.
The Senate legislation would recognize marriages between persons of the same gender and would extend to same-sex couples the rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities that opposite-sex couples now have.
"This measure represents the committee's best effort to balance the interests of supporters and opponents of this issue," said state Sen. Clayton Hee, chairman of the Judiciary and Labor Committee. "The Senate's bill preserves religious freedoms and ensures that the rights of all Americans are preserved as enshrined in the United States and Hawaii Constitutions."