Change 23 in 24
This amendment to the Hawaiʻi State Constitution was passed on 3 Nov 1998
The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.
The Change 23 Coalition advocates for amending Section 23 of the Hawaiʻi State Bill of Rights. The people of Hawaiʻi need the opportunity to remove this discriminatory language in the 2024 election. We need your help. It will require 2/3rd votes of the House and Senate for a vote in 2024. Change Section 23 in 2024.
Hawai‘i was at the forefront of the decades-long struggle for marriage equality in the early 1990's when the state Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting the issuance of a marriage license to same-sex couples was discrimination on the basis of sex under the state constitution. The decision in Baehr v. Lewin resulted in a backlash that prompted many states to prohibit same-sex marriage in their state constitutions.
In 1998, the Hawaiʻi legislature offered a constitutional amendment to the state’s voters that gave the legislature the authority to limit marriage, which is now Article 1, Section 23 of the state constitution.
This measure fortifies Hawaii’s position as a national leader in civic equality for sexual and gender minorities. For decades, Hawaiʻi laws have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public accommodations, housing, employment, and jury service. In recent years legal protections have been extended on the basis of gender and gender identity. In 2022, Hawaiʻi established an LGBTQ+ Commission to “recommend legislative and administrative action on equal treatment and opportunities” for LGBTQ+ residents, among other functions.em.
This measure does not interfere with the First Amendment rights of religious entities to solemnize marriages in a manner consistent with its doctrinal tenets and sectarian beliefs.
If not you then who? If not now, then when?
After 50 years of the US Supreme Court guaranteeing the nationwide right to an abortion, this new conservative Supreme Court has removed the right. The right to an abortion is now in jeopardy in Wisconsin. The 1849 Wisconsin law that could have been changed over the past 50 years was allowed to remain because legislators had "more important issues", "this is settled law", and "not wanting to stir up the pot".
It is clear this conservative Supreme Court has little respect for precedent.
There are 3 Justices remaining on the Court that dissented in Obergefell. Their views on our rights are chilling.
Beyond removing our right to marry, Justice Thomas would revisit the Supreme Court precedents that would criminalize who we love and the way we love.
There are 3 new Trump-appointed Justices that are hostile to LGBTQ+ rights. If Marriage Equality were to have come before this court we would have suffered a stunning defeat.
The new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson during the Louisiana "Defense of Marriage" Constitutional Amendment" debate called homosexuality a “inherently unnatural” and “dangerous lifestyle” that would lead to legalized pedophilia and possibly even destroy “the entire democratic system.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has become a hostile environment to advance Civil Liberties. We will see chipping away of our rights in society under the guise of religious liberty. The State Supreme Courts guided by their Constitutions are our next line of defense. It is a 50-state full-court press.
This year, California passed the legislative hurdle to remove "Proposition 8" their "Section 23" which prohibited same-sex marriage by a huge majority in their assembly and unanimously in their Senate.
We need to be part of the States that are affirmatively supporting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
We need to be prepared in case of another MAGA Presidency. More people in Hawaiʻi voted for Trump in 2020 than in 2016!
What if our constitution reserved marriage between same-race couples? How long would we have waited after the 1967 Loving decision to remove the stain of discrimination from our constitution?
If you are a state like Alabama the heinous language of their constitution:
Marriage discrimination was not removed until 2000 with a vote that was a shocking 59% / 41%. The interracial schooling prohibition was not removed until 3 years ago with only 66% in support. Discriminatory language in a constitution does not age well. We do not need to wait for a George Floyd or Dobbs decision to take the right action.
Polling taken from this year has Hawaiʻi supporting by a 3 to 1 margin removing the discriminatory stain of Section 23. Hawaiʻi is ready NOW.