Blog Post

Hawaii Governor Vetoes Civil Unions Bill

by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist The governor of Hawaii has vetoed a civil unions bill that would have granted same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples because she believes the issue is of "such societal importance that it deserves to be decided directly by all the people of Hawaii." CNN is reporting that Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle shocked many be vetoing a bill that passed by solid majorities in both State Houses. However, she was adamant about allowing the people to have a say in the matter. "The subject of this legislation has touched the hearts and minds of our citizens as no other social issue of our day," she said. "It would be a mistake to allow a decision of this magnitude to be made by one individual or a small group of elected officials." As expected, homosexual activist groups were dismayed by her decision. "Today was the first time a civil unions bill passed both Houses in Hawaii by solid margins and was on the Governor's desk for signing," Jo-Ann Adams, chair of the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered) Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said in a statement. "With such broad support from the legislators, who are the elected officials closest to the public, and the consistent results of the professional polls showing broad support for civil unions as a civil rights issue, we are deeply disappointed that the Governor ignored the will of the people and vetoed the bill. " While saying that she understands their disappointment, Governor Lingle let it be known that she was not happy about the last-minute maneuvering of the bill that led to its passage in April.  "The legislative maneuvering that brought HB 444 to an 11th hour vote, on the final day of the session, via a suspension of the rules, after legislators led the public to believe that the bill was dead, was wrong and unfair to the public they represent," the Governor said in her statement. "And while some will disagree with my decision to veto this bill, I hope most will agree that the flawed process legislators used does not reflect the dignity this issue deserves, and that a vote by all the people of Hawaii is the best and fairest way to address an issue that elicits such deeply felt emotion by those both for and against." She concluded: "This is a decision that should not be made by one person sitting in her office or by members of the Majority Party behind closed doors in a legislative caucus, but by all the people of Hawaii behind the curtain of the voting booth." The Family Research Council praised the Governor for her courageous veto of a bill that would have created both same-sex and opposite-sex "civil unions." "We thank Gov. Lingle for her veto, and for recognizing that 'civil unions' are 'essentially marriage by another name,'" said Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council's Senior Fellow for Policy Studies. "Society gives benefits to marriage because marriage gives benefits to society, and there is simply no benefit from homosexual relationships that would justify society's official affirmation of them, whether under the term 'domestic partnerships,' 'civil unions,' or 'marriage.'" He added: "The creation of opposite-sex civil unions in this bill as an alternative to marriage just proves that the ultimate aim of this movement is the deconstruction of marriage as a unique social institution." © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®