When Neil Abercrombie began campaigning for governor, one of the things he talked about was Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle’s decision to veto HB 444 – The Hawaii Civil Unions Bill. Abercrombie felt that HB 444 was not a same-sex marriage bill when Lingle urged that it was and he said that, “Civil unions respect our diversity, protect people’s privacy and reinforce our core values of equality and aloha.” It was then he said that, “Now, it will be up to the next Governor and Legislature to ensure that all people of Hawaii receive equal treatment. Protecting people’s civil rights cannot be compromised. I am committed to that most essential of constitutional imperatives.” He said that if a civil unions bill reached his desk, he would sign it.
Hawaii State House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro plans to push for the bill again after being re-elected. I think that a lot of people are confused about what the civil unions bill is. I used to think it was the same as same-sex marriage but after talking to people who supported it and actually reading the description of HB 444, I may have jumped to conclusions a bit too fast. After the elections, there was a huge burst of articles saying that Hawaii was in the perfect position for finally having civil unions.
According to Associated Press (AP), “The new composition of the Hawaii Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee favors same-sex civil unions. Any proposed civil unions bill would likely flow through the committee, which previously split on the measure on a 3-3 vote. If the measure passes its committees, advocacy group Equality Hawaii has said it would have enough votes for approval in the full House and Senate.”
This is likely good news for civil unions supporters not just in Hawaii, but everywhere. The big question is just how Hawaii’s conservative Christians will react? And will this now have an impact on other states? Congratulations Mr. Abercrombie, you are now our Governor. We are all curious to see what you will do when that bill finally appears on your desk.