Gov. Neil Abercrombie did the right thing Monday when he announced there will be a special session of the state Legislature to deal with same-sex marriages.
The governor was quite right when he stated that delaying the issue until the regular session of the Legislature would deny gay couples the benefits afforded to married couples under existing laws for yet another year.
Justice delayed is indeed justice denied. And righting this wrong has already been delayed long enough.
As we have written before, society is best served by encouraging commitment. Successful families are built when two committed adults work together to forge a relationship to support each other and children. A successful gay marriage is no threat to anyone else's heterosexual relationship or to the institution of marriage itself.
Abercrombie emphasized Monday that language would be built into the law to protect clergy from lawsuits for refusing to perform same-sex marriages on religious grounds. That is an assurance that was needed and, again, it was very good to see the governor address it head-on.
In conclusion, Gov. Abercrombie should be commended for taking the courageous political stand of calling the special session. It is an important first step in righting long-standing discrimination and bestowing all the rights of citizenship upon gays and lesbians.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.