Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Hawaii Governor Vetoes Civil-Unions Bill

After weeks of lobbying and political maneuvering, the governor of the Aloha State vetoed a controversial measure Tuesday that would allow same-sex and unwed heterosexual couples the same protections under the law that married couples have.

-- From "Hawaii Governor Vetoes Civil-Unions Bill" by Suzanne Roig, Time Magazine 7/7/10

. . . Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle delivered the news everyone had been waiting for when she announced she had vetoed the bill, citing a "flawed" legal process by which the measure was approved by state lawmakers 31 to 20 on the last day of the legislative session in April. Lingle, a 57-year-old Republican and Hawaii's first woman governor, said she felt lawmakers had denied the public the right to weigh in on the issue with their 11th-hour voting, and she recommended that the bill go to a national vote. Due to leave office in December after serving her two terms, Lingle had until Tuesday to sign the contentious measure into law, veto it or let it be approved without her signature.

"After months of listening to Hawaii's citizens express to me in writing and in person their deeply held beliefs and heartfelt reasons for supporting or opposing the civil-unions bill, I have made the decision to veto the bill," Lingle said in a press conference at the Capitol building that was streamed live online. "I have been open and consistent to my opposition to same-gender marriage and find that the bill is essentially marriage by another name. My personal opinion is not the basis for my decision ... Neither is my veto based on my religious beliefs ... I am vetoing this bill because I have become convinced that this issue is of such of societal importance that it deserves to be decided by all the people in Hawaii."

The bill would have given the same rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities of spouses in a marriage to partners in a civil union. All couples would have been allowed to enter into a civil union — a legal contract — provided they were 18 or older, not related and not already married.

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