Lambda Legal and ACLU to Governor: Do Not Veto HB 444

Affiliate: ACLU of Hawaii
June 21, 2010 12:00 am

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Honolulu — Today, Governor Linda Lingle submitted to the Legislature a potential veto list that included HB 444, the civil unions bill. This notification has prompted a renewed call from civil unions supporters for her to allow the bill to become law.

“This potential veto list indicates only that the Governor wants additional time to make her decision on civil unions. The time has never been better for everyone who supports fairness to contact the Governor and renew our voice for civil unions in Hawaii,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, Senior Counsel for Lambda Legal, speaking for both groups. “The governor has said she is considering civil unions with an open mind, and we have seen her make an effort to hear both sides. A wide array of business, religious and community leaders have voiced their support for civil unions – explaining how civil unions will benefit Hawaii’s economy and strengthen our families as has already happened in eight other states. We trust that she will listen to this ever-growing chorus of support and will act on behalf of the State in the best interest of all Hawaii by signing HB 444 into law.”

Hawaii’s constitution was amended in 1998 to allow the Legislature to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples, which it has done. Same-sex couples therefore cannot pursue full equality by seeking marriage through the courts. Although civil unions are a lesser status than marriage, they will provide a full range of state law protections and duties to gay and lesbian couples, such as access to family court to dissolve the legal status in an orderly way, clear duties to pay child support and alimony as spouses must, and other vital protections. Bills to offer civil unions have been under steady consideration in the Hawaii Legislature each year since 2001.

Potential veto lists like the one issued today are part of the standard legislative process. This list formally notifies the Legislature that potential vetoes exist. In turn, the Legislature can consider reconvening to exercise its right to override any veto(es). Governor Lingle has until July 6 to accept or veto each of the bills on today’s list, including HB 444.

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