HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill Wednesday legalizing gay marriage in the state that kicked off a national discussion of the issue more than two decades ago.
Now, the island chain is positioning itself for a bump in tourism as people take advantage of the new law and the state provides another example of how differently marriage is viewed in the nation.
I remember back in 1993 when all this “gay marriage” business started. And it started in Hawaii. It was a kickstart to a decade of slow-growth acceptance of an idea that there might one day be a place for same-sex couples to wed. In Massachusetts, the actual fact of marriage equality became a reality in 2004. Now, Hawaii will beat Illinois to the punch to become the 15th state with same-sex marriage. The dominoes keep falling.
Newly out in 1993, I marched on Washington for gay rights that year in what is still the largest crowd I’ve ever seen on the National Mall — and I went to plenty of rallies and two inaugurals in my nearly two decades in the national capital area — and it gave me hope for the future. I just never expected marriage.
Today, I’m reminded of the late Howard Crabtree’s hysterical 1996 musical revue, When Pigs Fly, written when a “gay Hawaiian wedding” was seen as something that might have been. There’s a marvelous song in Act II called “Hawaiian Wedding Song” and it’s as downright hilarious as the rest of the show. I’m sorry Howard didn’t live to see the day. Swine are winged today in his honor!