LGBT rights in Hawaii

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
LGBT rights in Hawaii
Map of USA HI.svg
Hawaii (US)
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1973
(Legislative repeal)
Gender identity/expression Yes
Discrimination protections Both sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
Same-sex marriage since 2013;
Civil unions since 2012;
Reciprocal beneficiary relationships since 1997
Adoption Yes

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the U.S. state of Hawaii currently have all of the same rights as non-LGBT people - with recent reforms such as workplace protection laws and the adoption of Senate Bill 1 (also known as the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act) — equalizing treatment for LGBT people and couples.[1]

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Hawaii repealed its sodomy law in April 1972[2] and revised its sex offences laws in 1986 following state Supreme Court rulings which defended a Georgia ban on sodomy.[3] The original sodomy law repeal was effective from the beginning of 1973.[4]

Recognition of same-sex unions[edit]

Same-sex marriage legislation[edit]

On September 9, 2013, Governor Abercrombie announced that he is calling the Hawaii State Legislature into special session on October 28 to consider the same-sex marriage bill.[5] The bill has wide support in the Senate as well as the required majority in the House.[6] If approved, the bill would take effect November 18.[7]

On October 28, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor passed same-sex marriage legislation in a 5-2 vote, sending the bill to a full Senate vote.[8] On October 30, the Senate approved the legislation in a 20-4 vote, sending the bill to the House.[9] On October 31, the bill was debated by both the House Committee on Judiciary and House Committee on Finance. The House, following extensive public debate and an attempted 'citizens' filibuster' of the legislation,[10] voted 30–19 on November 8 in favour of the legislation.[11][12] The bill returned to the Senate for approval of House amendments which expanded religious exemptions and the Senate provided final legislative approval on November 12, voting 19–4 for passage to the desk of the Governor.[13] Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the bill into law on 13 November; same-sex couples began marrying on December 2, 2013.[14]

History prior to same-sex marriage[edit]

Hawaii's denial of marriage licenses to same-sex marriage couples was challenged in court in 1993. In 1994, the state enacted a statute banning same-sex marriage.[15] In November 1998 the voters of Hawaii voted 69 percent in favor of amending the state constitution called Hawaii Constitutional Amendment 2 to allow the legislature to ban same-sex marriage.[16] The constitutional amendment led the Hawaii Supreme Court to dismiss the lawsuit.[15]

Hawaii established reciprocal beneficiary relationships, a limited form of civil union, for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples in 1997. Numerous legislative attempts to enact fuller civil unions equivalent with other jurisdictions' civil unions and domestic partnerships have failed.

Governor Linda Lingle vetoed a civil union law in 2010.[17] Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the same legislation on February 23, 2011, the first law he signed as governor. The law went into effect January 1, 2012.[18]

Hawaii has provided benefits to same-sex partners of state employees since 1997.[19]


Hawaii allows all couples, including same-sex couples to adopt. Additionally, lesbian couples can get access to IVF and artificial insemination treatment and surrogacies are allowed for gay male couples as well.[20]

Discrimination protection[edit]

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender
Rights in Hawaii
Flag of Hawaii.svg

Baehr v. Lewin (1993)
Baehr v. Miike (1996, 1999)
Constitutional Amendment 2 (1998)
House Bill 444 (2009)
Senate Bill 232 (2011)
Hawaii Marriage Equality Act (2013)

Equality Hawaii

LGBT rights in the United States
Same-sex marriage in Hawaii
Reciprocal beneficiary relationships in Hawaii
LGBT history in Hawaii

Portal LGBT.svg LGBT Portal

Hawaii law explicitly prohibits discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in employment, public accommodations and housing.[21]

The discrimination protections for sexual orientation in employment were added in 1991. In 2005 protections were extended to housing and in 2006 to public accommodations, both for sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. In 2011, gender identity or expression protections were extended to employment.[22]

Hate crime laws[edit]

Hawaii has a law that addresses hate crime protection for both actual and/or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

According to statute:

  • Sexual orientation is defined as heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality and those "having a history of any one or more of these preferences or being identified with any one or more of these preferences."[23]
  • "'Gender identity or expression' includes a person's actual or perceived gender, as well as a person's gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression; regardless of whether that gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression is different from that traditionally associated with the person's sex at birth."[24]

Conversion therapy[edit]

In January 2016 a bill, SB2615, that will outlaw conversion therapy on LGBT minors was introduced to the Hawaii State Legislature.[25][26] On March 8, 2016 the Hawaii Senate passed the bill by a landslide vote of 22 to 2.[27] However, the bill died in the House without a vote.[26]

Gender identity birth certificates and gender reassignment[edit]

Hawaii's Department of Health issues a new birth certificate to a post-operative transsexual upon receipt of a physician’s affidavit verifying that the birth registrant has undergone sex-reassignment surgery.[28] On May 5, 2015, the Hawaii Legislature passed a bill to allow transgender people to change their gender on their birth certificates without undergoing such surgery. Hawaii Governor David Ige signed the bill into law on July 14, 2015 and the legislation went into effect immediately.[29][30][31][32]

Since July 1, 2016, Hawaii also bans discrimination against gender identity or expression within insurance contracts.[33] This also must include gender reassigment surgery.[34]

Summary of LGBT rights[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (since 1972)
Equal age of consent Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes
LGBT anti-discrimination law in hospitals Yes
LGBT anti-discrimination law in schools and colleges Yes
LGBT anti-discrimination law in health insurance Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes
Same-sex marriages Yes (since 2013)
Recognition of same-sex couples Yes
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples Yes
Joint adoption by same-sex couples Yes (since 2012)
LGBTI people allowed to serve openly in the military Yes (since 2011 for Lesbian, Gay and Bi people and 2016 for Intersex and Transpeople)
Right to change legal gender Yes
Access to IVF for lesbians Yes
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples Yes
LGBT anti-bullying law in schools and colleges No
Conversion therapy banned on minors No (proposed)
Legal recognition of gender diversity beyond the female/male binary No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No (1 year deferral; federal policy)
United States census counts number of lesbian, gay male, bisexual, and transgender people No (federal policy)
LGBT-inclusive sex education required to be taught in schools No
Sexual orientation allowed as grounds for asylum Yes (Since 1994[35][36])


  1. ^ "Hawaii passes gay marriage: married same-sex couples soon eligible for federal benefits". 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  2. ^ William N. Eskridge, Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 (NY: Penguin Group, 2008), 201, available online, accessed April 9, 2011
  3. ^ "The History of Sodomy Laws in the United States: Hawaii". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  4. ^ "Sodomy laws in US states prior to 2003". 1998-01-28. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  5. ^ "Gov. Abercrombie Calls Special Session on Marriage Equity". Governor of Hawaii. September 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Hawaii Legislature Has Votes to Pass Same-Sex Marriage". Civil Beat. September 6, 2013. 
  7. ^ SB1, Relating to Equal Rights, Hawaii Legislature
  8. ^ Blair, Chad; Eagle, Nathan (2013-10-29). "Hawaii Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes Senate Panel". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  9. ^ Wendy, Osher (2013-10-30). "Breaking: Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes Senate in 20-4 Vote". Maui Now. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  10. ^ Lazo, Alejandro (2013-11-09). "In Hawaii, 'Citizens' Filibuster' Targets Gay-Marriage Bill". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  11. ^ "House votes to pass Marriage Equality Bill". Hawaii 24/7. November 6, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  12. ^ "State House advances same-sex marriage bill after long session". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. November 7, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  13. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (2013-11-12). "Hawaii legislature sends same-sex marriage bill to Governor's desk". Archived from the original on November 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  14. ^ Associated Press in Honolulu. "Hawaii looks to welcome more visitors after Gov. signs gay marriage into law". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  15. ^ a b "Hawaii Court Lets Gay Marriage Ban Stand". New York Times. December 10, 1989. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  16. ^ Hawai'i State Constitution, Article I, section 23, Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau. (Accessed 30 November 2006).
  17. ^ TIME: Suzanne Roig, "Hawaii Governor Vetoes Civil-Unions Bill," July 7, 2010, accessed April 13, 2011
  18. ^ Huffington Post: Mark Niesse, "Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie Signs Same-Sex Civil Unions Into Law," February 23, 2011, accessed April 13, 2011
  19. ^ National Conference of State Legislatures: "States offering benefits for same-sex partners of state employees", accessed April 16, 2011
  20. ^ Human Rights Campaign: Hawaii Adoption Law, accessed July 13, 2011
  21. ^ Haw. Rev. Stat. 515-2 – 7; Haw. Rev. Stat. §378-1 – 3; Haw. Rev. Stat. §489-2 - 3.
  22. ^ LGBTQ Nation: "Hawaii Governor signs transgender workplace protections bill into law," May 6, 2011, accessed July 23, 2011
  23. ^ Haw. Rev. Stat. § 846-51 (2001). Other relevant provisions include Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 706-662; 846-54; and 846-52 (2001).
  24. ^ Haw. Rev. Stat. § 846-51, S.B. 616, 2003 Leg., 22nd Leg. (Haw. 2003).
  25. ^ Hawaii to ban ‘cruel’ gay conversion therapy
  26. ^ a b SB2615 SD2
  27. ^ "Hawaii Bill to Protect LGBTQ Youth from "Conversion Therapy" Passes Senate". Human Rights Campaign. March 9, 2016. 
  28. ^ Haw. Rev. Stat. § 338-17.7.
  29. ^ [1]
  30. ^ [2]
  31. ^ [3]
  32. ^ [4]
  33. ^ [5]
  34. ^ [6]
  35. ^ "Asylum Based on Sexual Orientation and Fear of Persecution". Archived from the original on February 24, 2015. Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  36. ^ "How Will Ugandan Gay Refugees Be Received By U.S.?". 24 February 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2014.