Same-sex marriages & civil unions in Hawaii
Re: HB 444: Governor Lingle considers bill
Governor Lingle left state temporarily:
As of 2010-JUN-13, it was generally acknowledged that Governor Linda Lingle (R) had three options on the civil unions bill HB 444:
- To sign it into law;
- To veto it
- To do nothing and let the bill become law by default on JUL-06.
However, if she planned to veto it, she had to inform the Senate of her decision on or before JUN-22.
It turned out that she had a fourth option: to pass the buck.
Governor Lingle left the state on JUN-04 for a two week trip to Asia. Her powers were transferred to Lt. Governor Duke Aiona until her return on JUN-19.
Article 5 of the Hawaii State Constitution states that:
"... in the event of the absence of the governor from the State… such powers and duties shall devolve upon the lieutenant governor during such absence or disability." 1
Aiona has already vetoed Senate Bill 2401 in the absence of the Governor. It "... suspends a taxpayer's ability to claim the technology infrastructure renovation and high technology business investment tax credits." 2
As it happens, Duke Aiona is the leading active opponent to civil unions in the state.
Representative Tom Brower, (D), wrote:
"As one of the 31 House members who supported civil unions, I encourage Aiona’s support. It would send the message to Hawaii that its top government officials understand the difference between civil unions and traditional marriage, and that we have enough safeguards in our State Constitution to protect the sanctity of marriage." 1
Lt. Governor Aiona did not take any action on the bill.
Governor Lingle kept veto option open:
On 2010-JUN-17, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Iona announced that Governor Lingle has placed HB 444 on her veto list. He said:
"It will be a potential veto and the governor right now is crafting her decision as to whether of not she will or will not veto that bill. Some [day], we will find out. The deadline for that is July 6." 3
The KITV-TV article triggered some interesting reactions from readers. There seems to be a conflict between:
- Most religious conservatives who believe that civil unions and marriage are the same thing, that most adults are opposed to civil unions, that civil unions would violate God's will for religious marriage, and that civil unions would cost businesses a lot of money, and
- Others who believe that all loving committed couples deserve equal rights, that civil unions and marriage are different things, that most adults favor equal rights, that civil unions and civil same-sex marriage are different from opposite-sex marriage, and that costs to the economy would be minimal or non-existent, or would be beneficial.
Some postings by readers were quite interesting:
- -Goinglobal: "Veto it already. This is a big joke to take millions of tax dollars away from the local governments. Marriage is and always should be between one man and one woman!!! If they don't understand that then they should spend money with a shrink trying to figure out why they are having sex with the same sex anyway...instead of trying to get these stupid laws passed that go against the will of the people."
- +Abilenehilo: "Why should marriage only be between men and women? Is it because that fairy tale cloud being says so? Do you have a rational, rather than an emotional reason for your statement? There was a time in this country, in certain states, up until 1967 when interracial marriages were not allowed. Do you agree with that too? So you feel being gay is a psyche problem do you? Seems you are the one who needs to spend money to figure out why you have such a myopic outlook on love.
- -HIStateTaxpayer: It would change from a holy matrimony to an 'un'holy matrimony ceremony. Instead of it being done in the sight of God it would be done in the sight of all those who don't believe that God's Word is true and holy. Why stop with the legalization of same sex marriages? Why don't we also allow pet owners to have their pets get legally married. They will be allowed to claim special health and tax benefits for their beloved pets. Veterinarian health care can be quite expensive. So why not?
- +Owned: "So being gay and not having health coverage go hand in hand? I think you people have just reached a new low. I'm gay. I have a job. I already have health care, pay taxes AND vote."
- +Kestrelerr: "After reading a few posters' messages here tells me that there's just too much hatred in the World and not enough love. I'm in favor for more love!
- +HealingBear: "I do not understand how the Bible has anything to do with Government. What is this One Man and One Woman thing? Where in the Bible does it say this? In the New Testament? I'm sorry, but most of the New Testament is pretty much "Letters" to other Christians. I do Not recall Jesus who came to give us a New Covenant, ever saying anything about One man and One Woman. Now, in the Old Testament...I do recall, that most of the main characters, had more than One wife. So, how are people who are chanting "one man, one woman" basing their facts on?
- +Sympathizer: "[I'm] not saying my (heterosexual) marriage is perfect--it's not, but I can't begrudge someone else the opportunity to join with a loved one, same sex or not. Maybe I'm a naive romantic--I think the heart loves who it will. And even though God may not like it, we don't all believe in the same God, do we. We shouldn't let our own religious beliefs intrude on the lives of others--that's for them to work out on their own. My gay friends are law-abiding, tax-paying, environment-caring just like us straights -- they deserve the same benefits and considerations we receive. Besides, think of all the gay tourists that will flock to our beautiful state--talk about a boost to our economy!! who doesn't want to get married in Paradise?!"
- +Rotweiller Tom: "It is really sad to read some of the hateful, disgusting stupidity by some of you Hawaiians ... Homophobia is so strong in Hawaii, but having Lingle veto something so humane and so purposeful is an outrage. Hopefully she will come to her senses and act as a human being. All this Bill does is foster equality. Any religious argument is completely misplaced and actually irrelevant. Stop the hate, appreciate people for our differences, and live and let live. Don't spread division any longer.
- -BuboTheOwl: "Vetoing or speaking against this bill have nothing to do with hate or bigotry. This has a lot to do with values of individuals. Everyone got their own set of morals that they live by, believe by and rule by. Many of are in favor of this bill who attacked those who are against it are in fact, hypocrites since they impose their values upon the rest of us. I think this bill should be veto because its moral values does not match mine. It really that simple. You may disagree but so what? Even politicians are human being with their own set of values and morals, influence by their religious faith if they got one. People who support this bill often forgot the obvious to insert their agenda over others."
- +Steve MD2: "The Gov should sign the bill, or let it become law without her signature. No matter what anyone says, the opposition is religious based. And this is a country where we are all to be free to practice or not our religion, and not be forced into someone else's beliefs. And the constitution says something about equal justice for all. That means equal legal rights, including civil Unions. Religious beliefs should have absolutely no place in this discussion. And we should remember that religious beliefs in the past supported slavery, forbidding inter-racial marriage (until 1967 Supreme court over-ride), forbidding blacks to marry (until 1867). hatred of Jews etc. The civil unions bill is basic justice for the new victim of religious intolerance. Which has a horrid past, and for us, in another brand name, a horrid not so far back past called 9/11. Its all the same, the only question is the depth of the vitriol and the violence, physical or emotional, used to inflict harm on minorities. Gov Lingle - pls make sure the civil union bill becomes law. 3
Steve Williams of Care2.com wrote:
"Ultimately, the threat of the lawsuit may push Lingle to consider whether it is really worth dragging out this fight any further when a remedy is within reach. By allowing civil unions, Hawaii's long battle over recognizing same-sex partnerships might finally be put to rest, at least for a time, and lawmakers will able to concentrate their efforts elsewhere. On the other hand, Lingle may view the lawsuit as a reason to veto so that the matter is taken to court and decided there. This would be a regrettable situation for gay rights advocates but not a hopeless or unexpected one. But, given that Lingle is not seeking reelection after this her second term, a decision either way will no doubt help to shape how her time as governor is remembered." 4
According to Taragana.com:
- On 2010-JUN-21, Governor Lingle (R) held a press conference in which she announced that HB 444 was one of 39 bills that she listed in a letter to the Legislature that she might veto. She said that she is: "
"... still considering everyone’s point of view" on HB444, which she described as the most difficult of the measures still before her. "What makes it the most difficult is the intensity of the feeling on the part of the public. I don’t know of another bill that comes close to that. ... I can tell you that throughout this process, I’ve gone back and forth" on whether to sign the bill into law, veto it, or do nothing an allow it to become law on JUL-06.
- Among secular groups that support equal rights for all couples:
- lan Spector, a board member with Equality Hawaii said: “Actually, I was pleased to hear that — that she is going back and forth on the issue. ... It shows that she’s still engaged in deep, thoughtful consideration of the bill."
- The Rev. Carolyn Golojuch, president of the Oahu chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) -- another group promoting equal rights -- commented: "Lingle has said in no uncertain terms that an individual’s right to love and care for another person is of no interest to her or the Republican Party."
- Among conservative Christian groups who oppose civil unions:
- Francis Oda, chairman of Hawaii Family Forum said that they would encourage its members to contact the governor. He said: "We’re gratified and hopeful for an eventual veto."
- Garret Hashimoto, chairperson of the Hawaii Christian Coalition was troubled that the governor was wavering. He said: "It concerned me quite a bit because I thought our arguments were very valid or strong. The other side gives a strong passionate argument for their point of view. … I believe she is listening to both sides."
- House Majority Leader and a sponsor of HB 444, Blake Oshiro (D), said: "I think the [House] votes that were 31 in favor are pretty firm, and the votes that are opposed are pretty firm. So at this point, I don’t anticipate us taking further action on that." 5
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Tom Brower, "Hawaii Civil Union Bill in Hands of Major Opponent Duke Aiona," Hawaii Reporter, 2010-JUN-11, at: http://boss.hawaiireporter.com/
- "A bill for an act relating to state finances," Senate of Hawaii, at: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov
- "Civil Unions To Go On Potential Veto List. Law Requires Legislature To Be Informed Of Possible Vetoes," KITV-TV, 2010-JUN-18 at: http://www.kitv.com/
- Steve Williams, "Hawaii Governor Puts 'Historic' Civil Unions Bill On Potential Veto List," Care2, 2010-JUN-21, at:
- "Hawaii’s civil unions bill placed on potential veto list, buying Gov. Lingle more time ," Taragana.com. 2010-JUN-21, at: http://blog.taragana.com/
- Denby Fawcett, "Governor To Decide Fate of Civil Unions Bill Tuesday: Supporters and Opponents Anxious to See if She Will Veto," KITV 4, 2010-JUL-05, at: http://www.kitv.com
- "Hawaii Governor Veto [sic] Civil Union bill," ETurboNews, 2010-JUL-06, at: http://www.eturbonews.com
Copyright © 2010 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2010-JAN-22
Latest update and review: 2010-JUL-07
Author: B.A. Robinson