Same-sex marriages & civil unions in Hawaii
2007: Proposed civil unions
As of early 2007, Hawaii has a reciprocal benefits law that grants certain
rights to registered same-sex couples in the areas of insurance, property ownership,
pensions, and hospital visitation. However, there are hundreds of state benefits, rights
and obligations automatically given to opposite-sex marriage couples that are not extended to
Democratic legislators hels control of both the state House and Senate in
Hawaii. One of their highest priority projects in 2007 was a bill to create civil
unions for same sex couples. If passed, Hawaii would have become the fifth state to
recognize same-sex marriage, civil unions or registered partnerships. Same-sex
couples would have enjoyed all of the state benefits of opposite-sex married couples, except
for the legal use of the term "marriage." However, they would not
receive the over 1,000 federal benefits.
Gary Hooser, (D) the state senate majority leader said:
"Committed couples, regardless of their sexual preference or orientation,
should have the same rights. That's the bottom line ... we should treat people
equally. ... There's broad support among Democratic party members."
Reaction to the proposed law:
Governor Linda Lingle will not take a position on the bill until after
the Legislature passes it. Her senior policy adviser, Linda Smith, said: "We'll
give every bill a fair look if and when it comes to her desk."
Kelly Rosati, spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Church, said
that the church opposes the idea of civil unions.
A spokesperson for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
said that she was unaware of any official involvement by the Mormons in
the civil union debate.
Covenant News, a fundamentalist Christian news group referred to
same-sex civil unions as "sodomite 'unions' " in their blog. 2 It was a particularly nasty show
of prejudice against same-sex couples. We feel that it is worth duplicating
here, in order to show the depths of hatred that some religious
conservatives have towards persons of bisexual or homosexual orientation.
Covenant News commented in their daily mailing
that Hawaiian legislators were considering:
"...a 'renewed push' to give sex offenders marriage benefits through
'civil unions.' Reprobate lawmakers hold an overwhelming majorities
[sic] in both the state House and Senate and are supporting a proposed
'civil union bill" as a top priority for this year's legislative
session. If the sodomite bill passes, Hawaii would become the fifth
state to make a man's wife equal to a filthy sodomite." 3
Covenant News appears to consider lawmakers who favor equal rights to be
reprobates. They refer to homosexuals by the derogatory term "sodomite."
They imply that all homosexuals are "filthy." and "sexual offenders." Finally, they suggest that
same-sex "civil unionized" couples would receive rights equal to married
opposite-sex couples. That is wrong on two counts:
||They would only receive a few hundred state benefits. The
over 1,000 federal rights and benefits enjoyed by every opposite-sex married couple
in Hawaii would be denied them.
||Their rights and privileges are not generally transferable if they moved
to another state. Unless they happened to move to a state that recognized
civil unions made in other states, they would be treated as simple roommates
at their new location. Their children would be considered illegitimate.
The bill did not proceed. A vote in the House Judiciary
Committee was not held because the majority Democrats felt that it would
most likely be defeated. 4
However a new attempt at a civil union bill was
introduced in 2009.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Mark Niesse, "Hawaii lawmakers mull civil unions bill,"
Associated Press, 2007-JAN-31, at:
"Hawaii lawmakers mull sodomite 'unions'," Covenant News,
Abominations section, 2007-JAN-31, at:
Covenant News mailing, 2007-JAN-31.
Derrick DePledge, "Hawaii civil unions backed by a majority in
32 of 51 House members sign on to measure that would legalize partnership," The
Honolulu Advertiser, 2009-JAN-24, at:
Copyright © 2007 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2007-FEB-04
Latest update and review: 2009-FEB-08
Author: B.A. Robinson