Hawaii State House approves civil unions bill

By |2010-04-29T09:00:00-04:00April 29th, 2010|Uncategorized|

HONOLULU – The Hawaii State House passed HB 444 by a 31-20 vote April 30. The bill provides that equal rights and responsibilities of married couples in Hawaii be afforded to thousands of non-married couples in the state – including same-sex couples. The bill now heads to Gov. Linda Lingle for her consideration.
“Equality Hawaii is proud of the actions taken by the fair-minded majority in the Hawaii State House to pass HB 444,” said Alan Spector, legislative affairs co-chair for Equality Hawaii. “This bold declaration that all of Hawaii’s families should be treated equally under the law is commendable and long overdue. We thank all those who have worked long and hard in this struggle for equality and urge Governor Lingle to immediately sign this bill into law.”
Earlier this year, in a move chided by supporters and opponents alike, Speaker Calvin Say pushed through a motion to indefinitely postpone the bill. The final vote in the House came after supporters passed a motion to suspend the rules, allowing for a simple majority vote to consider the legislation. Without the suspension of the rules, the bill’s supporters would have needed a two-thirds majority vote to consider the legislation.
“In the 1990s, Hawaii began the national conversation about ending gay couples’ exclusion from marriage, and was the first to create a legal status to provide some state-level recognition and protections for same-sex couples. The legislature’s passage of a civil union bill marks a major step forward in Hawaii’s journey toward fairness and equality, but falls short of the full security and equal protection that come only with the freedom to marry,” said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry. “In the years since the groundbreaking Hawaii marriage case, the experience of other states such as Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New Jersey – as well as several countries – has been that civil unions are no substitute for marriage,” Wolfson said. Wolfson urged the Governor to quickly sign the bill and urged Hawaii to continue in its journey to rull marriage equality.
“The Human Rights Campaign congratulates the Hawaii House of Representatives for recognizing that all families in Hawaii need the same protections,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “We have been a partner with advocates for equality in the Aloha State for decades and today we celebrate this victory with them. We strongly urge Gov. Lingle to sign this bill into law to protect all Hawaii’s families.”
The bill now moves to Governor Linda Lingle’s desk where she may sign the bill, veto it or allow it to become law without her signature after 45 days.

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